10 ‘Token New Yorker’ Moments in Chicago

It’s been fun – and annoying sometimes –  being ‘that guy from New York’ every time someone asks me where I’m from (It’s even more fun being the first person they might have met from The Bronx).

These are some of my favorite New Yorker moments** I’ve had so far since moving to Chicago this past summer:



Literally everyone: Oh you just moved here? From where?

Me: New York.

Literally everyone: Omg that’s so cool!!! I went once like 10 years ago, but all I remember was Times Square. Did you live near Times Square?! Whose pizza is better – Chicago or New York?? What’s riding on the Subway like? have you ever been to Central Park? Have you seen the ball drop for New Year’s? Have you been to the Statue of Liberty?  Have you seen the tree lighting at Rockefeller Center? My cousin’s cousin’s cousin went to NYU…




Co-worker from the Burbs: Where you from, Ruben?

Me: I just moved to Chicago, I’m from New York originally.

Co-worker from the Burbs: You’re from New York?

Me: Yeah.

Co-worker from the Burbs: … so why’d you come here?




(At a friend’s birthday party)

Birthday friend: Ruben, this is another friend of mine from New York, she’s been living here for a few years now.

*NY Friend and  I exchange pleasantries*

NY Friend: So how long you been in Chicago?

Me: Like a couple months so far.

NY Friend: Yo deadass I been here like 3 years and I still miss having a real baconeggandcheese.

Me: Wordddd  I’ve only seen 3 bodegas out here…

NY Friend: I’m sayin’! And they actually have ALLEY WAYS out here in between buildings!

Me: I know! Like damn instead of throwing mad garbage on the sidewalk twice a week… and the Ventra card is dumb smart…got me mad disappointed in the MTA.

NY Friend: I knoow it’s crazy! MTA is slackin’ OD.

Me: Word like always.

NY Friend: Facts!!

*Me and NY Friend laugh together*

Me: Where you from tho?

NY Friend: From The Heights like 178 and Broadway.

Me: Oh word I used to be right off 152 and Amsterdam!

NY Friend: Oh shit my cousin’s right off 148 by the train! You always been there, or?

Me: Nah I grew up in The Bronx, on 233rd by the 2 train.

NY Friend: Ohh okay I know where that’s at I got you. You know what’s crazy. tho,  the other day I was like–

*Chicagoans near us are completely lost*




Chicagoan: One of my favorite rappers is from New York.

Me: Oh, which one?

Chicagoan: Tekashi 6ix9ine.

Me: ————_____________________————-




*Literally whenever the words ‘New York’ are mentioned in a group*

Everyone else: *Turns to me slowly, smiling, creepily awaiting my reaction*




Co-worker: Hey Ruben, I just booked a flight to New York a few weeks from now. I was wondering, what’s your experience with LaGuardia Airport?





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Co-worker: So have you always lived in Chicago?

Me: No I just moved from New York.

Co-worker: Oh, that’s awesome! I have a friend who lives in Manhattan!

Me: Oh nice!

Co-worker: I should ask you – do you know any good fusion restaurants in New York? My friend was telling me he was looking for anything that’s a real mix of different cultures, anything that’s really different?

Me: Well… there’s a place called Mama Sushi in upper Manhattan he could look at. It’s a Dominican and Japanese sushi place, I loved it there.

Co-worker: Oh wow! Thanks! I’ll tell him to look it up.

(A few days later…)

Co-worker: Hey Ruben, I’m sorry, I told my friend about the restaurant you recommended and he said he didn’t want to go there… he said it was in a dangerous area, too close to The Bronx.

Other co-workers: *Chuckle*

Me: *Laughing louder, obnoxiously* I was born and raised in The Bronx. I was raised on baconeggancheeses, cuchifritos, and tostones mashed with a plastic cup. I have a pet pigeon. I know how to say ‘deadass’ in 16 different languages. It’s just sad that the people who are scared of going there are the one’s who’ve never been and just believe what they hear… anyways, rant over, sorry about that.

Co-workers: *Nervously avoid eye contact*

One co-worker: *Checks his pockets*




Chicagoans: Can you pass the bottle of pop?

Chicagoans:  Has anybody seen my gym shoes?

*Hears strong Midwest accent*

Me: *Shudders*




Chicagoans: Wait… so you’re telling me… that some people… in New York City… don’t HAVE A CAR?!?!

Me: Yep. I didn’t get my license ’til I was 26-

Chicagoans: *head explodes*




Midwestern dude : So where are you from originally?

Me: New York, I just moved here recently.

Midwestern dude: Oh, cool. What part of New York?

Me: The Bronx.

Midwestern dude: *Tries to restrain his face, reflexively contorting in disgust*

Me: …

Me: … *awkwardly changes subject*



Nevertheless, the Windy City has been lovely.


**Some of these may not have been a little embellished. – RSM


Keyboard Rapper Vol. 4

A lot of the time I feel locked into old rhymes

Of the days when the ‘Golden Age’ of hip hop shined,

And I try to stay open; I minded my bias,

but young artists in 2018, I don’t buy it.

I try to branch out, but it gets so annoying,

every xanax rapper is so disappointing,

I already used more words this far along

than some trap artists have in their whole damn song.

I don’t really get how their fans got got,

and when I give them a chance, my brain cells rot.

I just get annoyed at the sliding scale

at which rappers are less inclined to rhyme a story, tell a tale,

Paint a picture with your words, make people wanna listen-

instead of simple REPetition-REPetition-REPetition (SKUHRRR)

Kill the noise and convey some real substance,

It gets old to hear about a whole lotta’ nothin’. -RSM

Life is just screens

I, apologize in advance,

For, the health of your eyes and your hands,

Thumbs, are busy, they’re doing their dance,

On the dancefloor of our touchscreens, and,

The river of time has eroded the borders

when it wasn’t social, it wasn’t normal

to just stare at multiple screens everyday

with a record of what I type-browse-do-or-say!

Life is just screens, and digital records,

with so much detail, it just leaves me breathless.

Smart home assistants are listening in

and so is your phone, so sophisticat-ed.

Radio signals, LED lights,

gentrifying the air every night,

I don’t resist it, just keep in mind

the way that humans keep bending space and time.

Our bodies react, pupils retract,

Whatever you post on the internet, you can’t take back.

Convenient and fast,

built to cost you money, but never to last.

“Nowadays, tech is so great! World at our fingertips,”

or so they’re saying.

But upgrade your knowledge and just keep your guard up,

And don’t substitute something else for your brain. – RSM

Nine Haikus.

Reality shows

remind me that there are worse

ways to live my life.


Demetri Martin

is a good comedian.

he is so damn weird.


Haikus are world known.

Same format, content changes.

Haikus are like memes.


Somewhere in this world,

dial-up internet is

connecting to porn.


I bet you I’ve slept

more in the last month then all

of this year combined.


Clouds before the storm.

A warning of the intense

onslaught to follow.


Fire breathes with air,

wind carries flames across land,

and rain ends it all.


Haikus on nature

are so extremely cliche.

I really just can’t.


The universe has

karma. A boomerang, with

a sense of humor.

Déjà vu and The Checkpoint Theory

I don’t take déjà vu lightly.

Every few days, or more so, it tends to be a relived memory

of the present moment. What? How can that be?


Non-sensical, yeah, but I know what I see and how it feels to me.

Déjà vu – ‘already seen,’ that’s what it means,

When it happens to me it reminds me of something I saw

and forgot, almost always from a recent scene in my dreams.


It’s been a lifelong thing –

random, no warning, gone after 10 seconds, it seems,

It could be anything – significant, mundane, forgettable, serene,

but it stands out to me, because somehow I know

it’s something that I’ve ‘already seen.’


Here’s the thing, though,

I tend to have more often of a frequent déjà vu occurence

more often during eventful life phases, or moments

where I know something big in my is life occurring, and

whether I’ve dreamed it and forgot, or not, I know that

I’ll remember these times – the unique, the important,

the very good and the very bad, the celebrations, and the burdens.


I’ve been seeing things happen more so that I’ve already seen,

but haven’t yet occured, and it hits me all at once as the scene

unfolds – the lines between reality and dreams get blurred,

and no matter how absurd,

I’ve started to think, maybe these moments mean something,

like, if important things are like rain, then déjà vu is like the fog,

and if life is a clock, then each déjà vu moment is a little cog.


Each moment relived as it happens is a benchmark, a passed test,

a little piece of the story along the way to the next day and the next,

like a checkpoint in a video game, where you can save from,

knowing you’re on your journey, further along,

and you still know where you came from; but for some reason,


that song you just heard for the first time sounds so familiar,

and that time I walked past that house on that street,

and looked at it for the first time,

that feeling I got almost knocked me off my feet,

an overwhelming, mysterious truth – like,

before I got there, I already knew what it looked like.


It’s always a little freaky, at first, but after the moment passes,

I just take a deep breath, clean my glasses, and feel at peace,

that this is the next step in life that I’ve just reached.


The powers that be, the forces we can’t see, it feels like

they’re showing me I’m in the right time and place,

my body, mind, and soul, traveling in a harmonious space-

perhaps just an instinct I have, but I see it as a hand to guide me.

I don’t take déjà vu lightly. – RSM



Desire None.

I don’t want a damn thing. I don’t need anything else

than I already have, a unique wealth of knowing I can live off what exists for me already;

I feel humble to know I’m not a have-not, I was born on a boat already sailing steady.


Most of us who can read this forget about all the others,

the fellow humans who starve, die, and have to run for cover.

First world problems are really just that, nothing

compared to titans like war, genocide, famine, drought,

that take the things away that we can’t live without.

Who really cares what car you drive, or shoes you wear?

None of it would  matter if our water supply went dry,

or if military conflicts poisoned our air.


Material things are distractions – from the suffering around us, poverty elsewhere, and from truly knowing ourselves.

Our consciousness gets shelved, for bright screens, being encouraged to chase ‘American Dreams,’

and heads talking on TV about ‘what matters’, ringing soundless bells,

they hope that our attention is caught in their trap,

to chase wealth, keep our eyes on the backlit panes, and develop a preference for useless crap.


Desire none, and you’ll be doing better than most.

A welcome antidote to 21st century stresses; take back your consciousness,

deflect materialism, call out manipulation. Though it may take a while,

you’ll have peace of mind – less to worry about, a lighter soul, and a brighter smile. – RSM

#12YearsAFacebookUser – Peer Pressure, Social Stigma, Tech Liberation.

Source: Getty Images

It’s been about 3 months since I deactivated my profile on the world’s favorite social media network. It’s the best thing I could have done for my tech / social media footprint, my eyes, my free time, and my privacy. And I still think about reactivating it sometimes, too.

My 2018 New Year’s resolution (and 2017, too =/ ) was to do less on social media. Be less involved across different platforms, delete what I didn’t want, didn’t need, didn’t use, etc. I knew I was becoming a bit of a tech zombie, between working in IT and social media being the main way that me and my whole damn generation communicate.

Back in 2016 I would have several notifications a minute on my phone at peak times during the day. It was just too much – Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, personal email, work email, texts, and of course the occasional actual phone call (always when I’m in the middle of typing something, no less) – it became a headache to just have a smartphone. I would silence my phone for a 2 hour movie and would illuminate my screen to see at least a dozen notifications. My anxiety levels were being spiked by almost every vibration, every time that little sound went off on my phone.

The allure of smartphones as a new technology is long gone. As millennial in my late 20s, I just get tired of using technology. It’s even harder to be an extrovert in today’s world while trying to not over-use social media. I had been deleting unused and unwanted social media accounts of mine since 2015. Some I stayed off, and some I brought back, reinstalled and logged back in. Why? Feelings of boredom, loneliness, not knowing what to fill the void with when I deleted a heavily used app of mine. Mainly, I didn’t want to be so ‘against the grain’ that I lost my most practical ways to communicate with friends and family.

I had been on Facebook since 2006, when I was 16, a sophomore / junior in high school. Back then, Facebook was considered the way out from the mainstream social media site of the time – MySpace. We all know how that went.

Facebook became the central hub of how I communicated with anyone and everyone in my college and post-college years, save for my closer friends and family who had my phone number. Between profiles, photo tags, and Messenger, it became the norm, the dominant avenue, the unquestionable arena where all people (my age, at least) were expected to be.

It’s no secret Facebook has their shady side. Most people have heard of and/or know about the recent info leaks, but don’t want to cut the cord. Why? It’s just not convenient, and that’s no accident, either.

A common thing you’ll hear in conversations among anyone nowadays, not just young adults is “Find me on Facebook,” or “Facebook me.” It can be awkward, sometimes even a social deterrent, when someone replies “I’m not on Facebook.” How surreal is it, that a social media platform is so strong, so widespread, that it carries a social stigma for those without a profile? This is an underlying form of peer pressure that is still a big reason why millions of users have begrudgingly kept their profiles active.

I deactivated (not deleted, that’s different in FB world) my account right before the whole scandal with Caimbridge Analytica came about, so I feel like my timing was pretty impeccable.

I built up to this by taking a few de-techifying steps for myself over the past few years:

  • Disabling ALL phone notifications except for texts and alarms
  • Re-evaluating, uninstalling, and deleting accounts on unnecessary apps on my phone
  • Making accounts private
  • Archiving / downloading my entire Facebook profile and account
  • Deactivating my profile

The last 2 steps came this Spring, and I feel liberated to a large degree. I didn’t go full FB commando though, I still use the Messenger app (no site profile required) and I didn’t ‘request deletion’. The Facebook process for deactivating profiles is full of ‘Are you sure?’ type confirmations, guilt-tripping tactics included. As a user, one is not able to fully delete their profile without ‘Requesting full deletion,’ and awaiting some kind of correspondence.

I haven’t requested full deletion, because, well, after depending on social media my entire adult life, it is hard to fully let go, despite all that I know about over-using technology and social media.

I don’t want my own human experience to be desensitized by technology. I also understand it is an ever-changing world we live in, with no ‘normal’ really lasting for too long.

Something I try to do is strike a balance between making social media useful, but not so much that my time, energy, and moods are consumed by it. Don’t be a tech zombie, but do enjoy what works for you. Don’t go out of your way to be a tech hipster, either. – RSM