How My Two Dogs Revealed A Hidden Layer of New York City For Me
Within the past week alone, I’ve gotten to know my neighbors better.
I always thought the reason why New York City was so appealing to me was because I could be entirely anonymous, a privilege I was not afforded when I was growing up in Texas. Here, I could cry on the subway, have a heated argument on the phone during a walk, or run to the deli in flip flops and sweatpants, and absolutely no one would bat an eye. Feeling invisible, arguably, is one of the best parts about living in the city.
Last week, however, my mom — who is a fully vaccinated medical assistant— drove all the way up from Florida and dropped off our two dogs, Chloe and Clara, at my apartment while she moves to Georgia. I expected for my life to be radically different: I’d have to wake up earlier to feed and walk the pups, buy all sorts of gear, and get used to adorable pleas for a bite of my dinner. But I didn’t think that my everyday interactions with strangers would change. Now, every time I go outside, people smile at me and ask me questions, all because I have two very adorable dogs by my side.
It’s almost as if I have unlocked a new level on a video game, except that instead of me having to duke it out in a boss fight, I now have pleasant conversations with neighbors I’ve never seen before. Every morning, I walk Chloe and Clara to Prospect Park with my boyfriend, and we see the same cast of characters. I’ve gotten to know the construction workers who are restoring a brownstone a block away from me, the owner of a very sweet mutt named Oggie, and some toddlers who attend pod school in the park (sometimes, when it’s cold, the pups wear shark hoodies, so of course these kids are asking if they could play with the Baby Sharks).
My boyfriend and I are adjusting to the attention; it’s bizarre talking to people on the street after months of only really interacting with each other, the baristas next door, and our virtual classmates in grad school. These days, I would…