I am not the bravest person in the world. I have a terribly low pain threshold, an embarrassing fear of spiders and bugs - anything that could be referred to as 'creepy' or 'crawly' really - and am completely nonsensically terrified of hippos*. I jump at unexpected noises, I won't watch scary movies, and I go to pieces entirely when I think there's someone in the house**. Essentially, I'm a wimp, which could prove to be something of a problem, as I've now realised that while I may once have thought London was scary, with its cawing crows and Blair Witch Project style plants, it has nothing on New York.
There are no hippos wandering the streets (that I've seen - every day I see something quite odd, so it could very well just be a matter of time) but almost everything else on my list has turned up - thankfully not often, but still. There aren't all that many bugs or spiders visible, but I'm sure there are lots that are invisible (as in hiding out of sight, not as in highly developed evolution). The only time you see them is when they're dead in the middle of the path, possibly from some nighttime excursion to a 'How We Will Rule the World' meeting. I've seen a couple of these 'tragically' squashed crusaders, and all I can say is jeepers, from white, pinched lips. They are colossal. So big that my average-sized-foot wouldn't be sufficient to crush them. Here's hoping I never run into one that hasn't died for the cause, because I'll either recognise it as a bug and freak out, or I'll mistake it for a hippo and freak out. There is little doubt in my mind that these bugs eat more than I do for lunch. I really hope they're not native New Yorkers, but just visiting for the summer.
There are pigeons, which aren't your average filthy London species, but somehow are even more revolting, as if their ancestors had mated with the aforementioned bugs and this was the result. Like all pigeons, they don't really bother flying, so they're always on the ground, only moving when your feet come near. Unfortunately, something in the air, or possibly their mixed up genes, means that they don't fly away from you, but straight at your face, causing me to invariably quietly cry out and duck (every time, I duck, as if this was a known foolproof way to drive pigeons away). I haven't decided yet if this is more or less embarrassing when I'm alone, and strangers look at me with concern, or when I'm with H1, when at least it's clear that I'm not so crazy I don't have friends. Although this last point is rather mitigated by the fact that usually when this happens, he pretends not to know me.
That's about it really. All things considered, it could be much worse. When there are no pigeons or bugs around, I feel just as safe on the streets as I do in the confines of the maybe apartment. Sometimes slightly more, even. Sometimes the maybe apartment makes funny creaks (at which I jump, without fail). Also, we have a robot that does our vacuuming called Alfred and we suspect he might be one of those robots who turns bad and tries to do in his masters***. Unfortunately for Alfred, he's not very big, and he can do exactly one thing - clean - so he's restricted to zooming towards our feet quite fast and trying to knock into them, his little brushes whirring away. It's scarier than it sounds, but also hilarious. If the only time anyone paid me any attention was when their floors looked a little dirty, I may well end up taking the same tack.
*Have you seen the size of their mouths?!
**Although I'm not the only one. If anyone does ever break into our flat, we're almost certainly goners, aren't we, H1?
***There it is - the coolest sentence I've ever written.