I Need You to Need Me

I need to be universally loved. I need for the barista at Starbucks who is seriously taking like nine minutes to make my one iced skim latte to be impressed with how patient I was. It’s not healthy or convenient, as I am usually already late. But I play it cool: I stand at the counter, internally losing my mind; externally acting fanatically polite and hip to the jive of customer service.

In New York, morning subway riders can choose to read the free AM New York or the free Metro. I used to read two or three pages of the paper and then carry it around all day for no reason, so I recently decided I’d rather save a portion of a tree and read the New York Times on my phone or play Tetris. The dismissal of free publications is killing my popularity with the two ladies who hand out them out. I’ve overcompensated for not taking the papers by being super polite to them.

But it’s getting out of hand; our mornings are becoming too involved. Due to the heat, they have moved out of the subway and stand at the top of the stairs, fiercely battling to get rid of their papers first. I end up making accidental eye contact with them half a block away. Today, caving to peer pressure like I’d never had D.A.R.E. in fifth grade, I took the AM New York. AM New York lady told me have a nice day like, five times. Metro lady couldn’t even look at me.

It has occurred to me that other people are not that interested in me and the only one who remembers these awkward interactions is myself. And, to be clear, I have never had an interaction that went horribly awry where a cashier told me that unless I changed my ways no one would ever love me. My transactions generally go smoothly. But now that I’ve dug myself into a relationship with the free newspaper ladies, I have to see it though. I hope to avoid needlessly taking the paper tomorrow, but it may be out of my hands.

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