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

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

What song will play after the final scene of your life’s movie? 

after the last line is spoken by the up-and-coming young star that was cast to play you, and re-enact the highlights of all you ever did and what you’re about to do,

it’s important to specify these things, you know, maybe in a notarized will or some legally binding shit like that,

so that when your legacy is even further cemented by the highest medium available in cinema, long after you’re onto the next life,

you have your life shaped the way you wanted, before it’s recreated, broadcasted, flaunted, even, as a cinematic masterpiece, the best biopic since Ray (2004). 

That’s kinda how I look at it, the actions in life that I do, at least, I guess, whatever a ‘legacy’ means in the 21st century, be it called our ‘life story,’ or just a series of ridiculous snaps,

we shape our life’s trajectory every day with our impulses, actions and hesitations.

Am I gonna get up at 4 am today? I meann I could just hop a plane to New Zealand, change my name, and have a 2 and 3/4 year vacation,

but that’s not what I wanna do; run away from obstacles, I mean.

The best karma is demonstrated.

Cultivated, by your own hands, your own doings, the hard work you put into this life during hard times will eventually turn tides (like the moon).

Pulling through the rough patches – patient, poised, with a soda on the side,

is like when you have Onyx in a Pokemon battle and you’re about to unleash like, 3 turns worth of ‘Bide.’

Jussayin’, when the credits roll in the last scene of this biopic that so far only exists in my imagination, I don’t want it to be a cliche-catchy-radio-bs-whatever thing,

nor would I be so inclined to have only a song from my time, either, but no matter what era it ends up being from, I want it to get people thinking, smiling, loving, singing, and quickly blinking,

while looking into their soul’s mirror, contemplating, asking themselves just as a what-if:

What song will play after the final scene of your life’s movie? – RSM


P.S. My Choice is One Life by The Pillows:

(Lyrics in English)

Immersive Daydreams, or Dissociation?

It happens so many times a day, I catch myself coming to, right before I walk right into you;

Yes, you, whoever’s right in front of me, walking towards me, almost a victim of my daydreams, since reality is sometimes bores me.

I’m surely thinking of 5 to 10 other things, at any given time, give it time, I’ll find a way to weave them all together, and altogether I’ll make ’em rhyme.

My daydreams have always been a bit strong, but it was never a concern until I learned of a certain word:

‘Dissociation’, the extremes of one’s consciousness stream distorted by a purely imagined false reality, identity, or scene.

I don’t suffer from anything official of the sort, but it’s a bit eerie, the level of daydreams on a daily that I report;

If my mind could record, it would catch a few dozen memories distorted and replayed in the mix of impromptu imaginary screenplays.

I like the way this works, a vivid brain does not necessarily make me insane, but I get a little paranoid, hypochondriac style, when I realize reality is sometimes tapping its foot, waiting, saying “You and your immersive daydreams need to stop playin’.”

I’ve always loved the way my thoughts flow, and along with my imagination they put on a show; I also know that DID is all too real, a different league, and hope that those who suffer from it get the help they need. ❤ – RSM