Dear Erica,

Yesterday I was at Trader Joe’s trying to get some healthy food.  (What’s with that, btw? Why is it so hard to find healthy food and decent vegetables here?) At first I was impressed; it was worlds better than being crammed into the TJ’s on Court Street in Brooklyn with a line snaking around the entire store in every aisle, bumper to bumper with Brooklynites and just trying to get to the dried freaking mango. But when I finished my shopping and got to the registers, there was NO LINE AT ALL but plenty of shoppers. People were just standing around with their carts, completely unorganized, not being helped, not being checked out. I’ve noticed that happening at Target, Kroger, and even the gas station. How do they get anything done?

-Sick of Standing Around


Dear Sick,

I am familiar with this bizarre behavior. Here’s my advice. If you’re from New York, you just have to accept something: there is no place in this country–perhaps even the world–that is ever going to be as efficient as Manhattan.  Never will you go into a coffee shop that runs so seamlessly that you don’t have to make eye contact with anyone. You will not regularly be in that blissful state of your own world for entire afternoons, productively zooming through your chores so that you have time to relax and unwind. This is the South. Let go of that feeling. It will always be waiting for you at a buzzing Brooklyn deli, where everyone knows exactly what they’ll order before they step foot in the door. It will be there, at the subway turn style, as New Yorkers expertly execute a swipe while holding umbrellas, briefcases, babies, and grocery bags.  In the meantime, try to enjoy the slowness. Chat with people. Tell them you like their nail polish. When they ask you how you’re doing, actually answer honestly. You’ll be surprised at how interested and interesting people are. You’ll relax into it, and when you’re snapped back by someone lurching around Gallatin Avenue at 10 mph, just remember, there’s always New York.



Nashvillians not forming a line outside Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream.

Don't be an idiot.

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