Introverted In The City

Saturday was just one of those days. Laying in bed with a will to do nothing, I turned over quite a few times before rousing from the covers. Although I didn’t want to go out, Saturday is really my only day to do so since Sundays are church days. Though I don’t like being out on weekends, the other option would be to work on weekends. Since doing so is asking to be in the 8th circle of hell, the much better alternative is to take weekends off.

I don’t know why I keep telling myself that I’m going to the art museum on my days off, because I never manage to get my behind there. Today was no different. Instead, I took a side trip to the Farmacy, my favourite brunch spot located in University City.

The gray sky and rain christened the already dreary day. It rained lightly at first, and I took care to walk around puddles to keep water from seeping into my non-rain boots. After getting off the el at 46th Street, I approached my destination after waiting through a procession of police cars, and steering myself past the tempting smell of a halal place (that’s next on my hit list; that salty-savory aroma was AMAZING). I stepped over the Rx on the step and into the threshold to one of my favourite places to hide.

Apparently, The Farmacy was just what the doctor ordered for that day.

It was warmer and considerably drier inside than out. The muted yellow, the plants that hang from baskets in various spots, and the 3 square mini skillets hanging on the wall makes the restaurant feel homey. Also, the intimate size of the space made it feel cozy. It wasn’t quite as busy as the last time I was there, which was months ago.

Songs that I heard when I was growing up blasted from the kitchen, and I sang to most of them. I ordered the huevos rancheros on this particular day. I’ve had huevos rancheros before and like it, but I’ve not tried it here. Every place makes common dishes like that differently; therefore I was anxious to try it at my favorite spot.

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“Now that’s impressive”, the waitress exclaimed when she saw how clean the skillet was. I laughed from embarrassment. I had done all but lick the skillet, and that’s only because I kept myself from doing so. “That’s all right; I did that the first time I had it, too”. A runnier yolk would’ve been nice, but I clearly had no problem with eating this interpretation of huevos rancheros. The duck fat potatoes in the bottom sealed the deal for me. They also helped me clean the skillet at the end.

After enjoying some bacon, I left brunch to wander around University City. I ducked in and out of a couple of shops, then ventured to Center City area to go to Reading Terminal Market. I started a bit because of the volume of people in the place. It’s nowhere near as crowded in the middle of the week unless you go during lunch. Even then, it doesn’t compare to the amount of bodies pushing through the seemingly narrow aisles. Maybe they only seemed narrow because my head was starting to spin and the loud crowd started getting mysteriously quieter.

It was then that I realized I was panicking. I never remember experiencing this feeling before although I manifest shyness and introverted tendencies. I had to quickly duck out of the fray. I found the shop where the spice corner had been, and ducked in.

What had just happened? Did I have a panic attack? Why? Part of me wondered if pushing through the bustle reminded me of the time I went “crowd surfing” in Times Square in NYC. I don’t mean the fun crowd surfing that happens when you’re above the crowd, being guided by a sea of hands.

What I call “crowd surfing” is when a large, protesting crowd crushes you in so that you can’t move, your feet leave the ground, and you are “carried” in whatever direction that crowd moves. It’s frightening because if your feet don’t get back onto the ground in a way where you’re holding yourself up, you can easily be trampled… and we know where that can lead to in a worst case scenario.

It was at this time that I decided to leave the market once I summoned the courage to leave the little shop. I thought about what had happened on the way home. Despite that incident, I love being in the city. I still love Center City Philly and I still love New York City.

Introverts and shy girls can totally make it in the city; just be true to yourself!

If you know your limit is eating & shopping for the day, stick to that! When it gets to be too much, retreat to the quiet spot in the city that you love. Also know when it’s time to get home and recharge… and don’t think something’s wrong with you for needing that. Cities are perfect for introverts because it’s okay if you’re a little offbeat. In a city, everyone’s offbeat… and somehow… it all harmonizes and makes something that we can’t stay away from, no matter how introverted we can be. I can be.

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