NEW YORK, NY — A Brooklyn woman spotted sobbing on Dekalb Avenue this past Sunday is honestly happy no one asked her what was wrong. At first, the woman thought it was a bit strange not one of the many people who passed her even seemed to recognize that she was openly weeping in broad daylight. “I mean, I was basically screaming, ” says the woman. “I was howling like a heartbroken coyote. Families walked past, couples, kind-looking women, horny men — not one of them said a thing. For a second, I thought I was invisible, or maybe dreaming. But then I started to imagine what it would be like if someone actually did stop and ask what was wrong. It would have been awful. It would have made everything so much worse!”
According to many New Yorkers, being able to have a loud, private cry in public is one of the great privileges of living in this city. Says one bystander, “I used to cry on the N train every night on my way home from work. No one ever even looked at me. It was the best part of my day.”
While many think New Yorkers are too hardened to comfort a crying person, others see it more as a matter of respect. “I saw a woman sobbing on Vanderbilt last week and honestly, the only thing I thought was, ‘Good for her!'” says one local. She continued, “There are two things I love about this city: the fact that you can cry on the street without anyone bothering you and the fact that no one will even suspect someone farted on the train platform — let alone that it was you. If we lose those two freedoms, who even are we? Not New Yorkers, I’ll tell you that much.”
A psychotherapist specializing in public weeping weighed in, saying, “Nine times out of ten, if a person is crying on the street, the kindest thing you can do is just let them sob in peace. Actually more like 19 out of 20. Or maybe even 99 out of 100 but I don’t know — psychology isn’t science. Well, it is, but it’s not a math science, like physics. You get what I’m saying.”
When asked if he would say anything to a person crying on the street, one man said it depends. “If it’s a kid, that’s one thing. But an adult? I’m minding my own business, buddy.”
We asked the woman what she would have done if a stranger had asked her what was wrong. “I guess it would have depended on the who was asking. If like, a middle-aged woman had asked, I most likely would have felt comfortable enough to accept her kindness, but she probably would have reminded me of my mother, who’s dead, and that would have made me even more upset. But if a man had asked — any man — I would have stabbed him. I don’t carry a knife but I would’ve found a way.”
Most locals seem to agree: this is New York City, the one place where you can have total privacy in public. So if you see a woman sobbing on the street, leave her the fuck alone.