*MCT photo
*MCT photo

When are you right but still wrong? Every time you talk to a New York bus driver.

Whatever you say, however cheerful, the response makes it clear your adversary has your IQ down as similar to that of a small, retarded goat.

*Gets onto the first step of the #33 bus in Queens*

Driver: “Why you gettin’ on this bus?”

Me: “Err, because I need to get somewhere”

Driver: “You got the wrong one, you need the #72 on the other side of the road.”

Me: *Taken aback* “O… K… but how do you know where I want to go.”

Driver: “Other side” *Shuts door in my face and pulls off*

Now, look, I’m not a New York native — something this guy could obviously smell two stops away — but the fact is there was no #72 bus on the opposite side of that Queens street.

So while the driver may have had the cool accent, the I-don’t-give-a-flying-Starbucks-caramel-latte attitude and look like he could be a member of The Strokes, he was WRONG.

Admittedly, he did at least get me heading towards Manhattan rather than embarrassingly straight back to the airport!

The behemoth that is NYC is, of course, a stark contrast to Bermuda, the two places representing the best of two very different lifestyles.

The last time I asked for directions on the island, I was actually given a lift to my destination along with some idle chat about how hard it is paying child maintenance to five separate mothers. It didn’t cost anything, either (the lift, not the child support).

But to compare your average New Yorker with your average Bermudian is, in my experience, a battle between cynicism and optimism. 

A boast of a taster menu at a swanky Asian fusion restaurant in the Meatpacking District will be met with a mocking smirk that tells you that, yes, you are indeed the last person this side of the equator to try that. What have you been doing since 2005?

Fist bumps

A similar boast in Bermuda of an Art Mel’s fish sandwich and the whole office will join in congratulating you on such a memorable choice, complete with follow up questions — did you finish it? What sauce did you go for? — before a few obligatory fist bumps.

I admire both attitudes. New Yorkers remind you without subtlety you have to be sharp to survive in their town, which is among the most thrilling on this planet.

Bermudians, on the other hand, are not afraid to embrace those who embrace them and their uniquely-charming customs.

New York reminds you of your potential, Bermuda reminds you of everyone else’s.