She’s leaving home

Sarah leaves in one week. Seven days. That takes my breath away, but you wouldn’t know it if you get within earshot of me. While Sarah Toy Story 3’s her room, I talk to her. I talk to her when we are in the same room. I shout across the house to talk to her. I stand outside the closed bathroom door and talk to her. What does all this talking sound like? Like this:

“And be sure to follow the laundry instructions on the tag and never leave your drink unattended and always have a working flashlight where you can find it in the dark and keep your phone charged.”

No matter how much I say, it doesn’t feel like enough. There isn’t enough time and I have a giant knowledge hole about all things New York. I feel like I should remind her to always keep enough credit on her Metro pass that she will never be stranded far from home. Then again, maybe not. I just don’t know. Is New York a ‘don’t talk to people on the elevator’ place? Are there restaurants that only the locals know about?

So, I need help. I need to know what YOU would say to a 17-year-old moving from Knoxville to Manhattan. You can leave me a comment or send me an e-mail. You can text my phone or call and talk to me. Send me a tweet. Leave me a comment on facebook. Please send me your wisdom. Just send it quickly, because . . . seven days.

8 thoughts on “She’s leaving home

  1. I moved to Manhattan in October. Your girl is going to be fine.

    No, New York *isn’t* a talk to people in the elevator kind of place. People say hello, have a nice night and make small talk about the weather.

    It is very easy to meet people in NYC. I mean, they are everywhere.

    The city is a grind, but it is also very rewarding. Tell her to keep her head up, don’t take the subway alone after midnight and to carry mace in her purse, though the chances she will need to use it are slim to none.

    Manhattan is actually a pretty safe place. Don’t worry.

  2. not much chit chatting with strangers on elevators or maybe it’s changed I don’t know. I will never forget the first time a random stranger struck up a conversation with me when I moved to Knoxville I remember looking around trying to figure out who the hell they were talking to.
    my 2 cent advice always have a hand on your purse or bag no leaving it unattended for any reason even if you are just running up to the counter for a sugar packet.

  3. I moved 5hrs away from home (just far enough to be out of easy driving distance) and loved it when mom sent me care packages. Monthly arrivals of canned & microwavable items (lighter) meant that I ate more regularly. And no one turns down a box of cookies or some quick cash. She knows you love her. Get her to call you once a week so you’ll know she’s ok. Tell her to wear purses with thicker straps, over the shoulder and under a jacket you don’t take off so the strap isn’t exposed from side or back.

  4. I grew up in Knoxville and I lived in NYC for nine years. I was older when I moved there, but in New York, I was never accosted, pickpocketed or even seriously scared (whereas in Knoxville a homeless guy followed me and threatened to rape me on Gay Street at about 9 pm ten years ago.) NYC is busy, and crowded, but people there love to give directions (especially subway directions) to folks and they love to put their two cents in when you don’t expect it. They’re nice, too, just in differnet ways.

    Tell her to carry a mini-size subway map and a metrocard with about 2 rides on it for emergencies in the back of her wallet. She will need a big purse/messenger bag to carry everyday, because you have to haul around all your stuff all day long. You don’t get to leave things in your car, so that extra sweater, gloves, mini umbrella (which she will also need), novel, bottle of water, ipod, cell phone, etc, all have to stay on your person at all times. So get her a big purse that she can strap across her body for the long haul. Guys up there usually carry backpacks or messenger bags for the same reason.

    Um, the subway stations aren’t air conditioned, but the subway cars are. This means the stations get about ten degrees hotter than street level in the summer (from the AC discharge from the trains), and they smell awful. She will need to quickly learn how to dress in layers for this reason in the spring/summer. Tell her if she is ever waiting for a train at rush hour, and a car comes that is completely empty on an otherwise crowded train, don’t get in it. It probably has broken AC and is hotter than the jaws of satan. Or a really smelly homeless person. Either way, best not to risk it.

    She’s going to have a great time. I miss the city, some days a lot. Ooh, especially shopping at Century 21! Make sure she takes you there (if you like shopping) when you visit. Also, the outer boroughs are way cooler than she thinks they are right now, and they have a lot of neat things in them. Fun to explore.

  5. Not sure about the elevator chit-chat thing, but people are always pretty friendly when we visit NYC. They’re certainly very willing to give directions when you’re lost or turned around. I’m excited for Sarah discovering the Big Apple. 🙂

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