Google image search for "gal on the go" aka demon possessed looking Barbies with poofy hair. YIKES!
Going to college in a busy and eclectic city like New York definitely taught me some survival skills. Besides the basic "Don't make eye contact with anyone on the subway after 2am if you're by yourself" skill, I learned to eat while walking at a rapid pace. In general, New York City moves FAST. Everyone is on a mission. Everyone's late for a meeting and everyone has their own agenda. You either sink or swim. If you sink, you'll probably end up trampled or yelled at by angry New Yorkers. So it's best to just go with the flow and learn to move quickly.
During my years as a New York University undergraduate, I had a really busy schedule like most undergrads. I would go to class most of the day, and then have to run to work with only a few minutes in between, and then after that probably sprint to rehearsal. It was a hectic and wonderful three and a half years. Probably the most valuable skill I learned at NYU was the art of eating and walking and it's really helped me a lot in life, especially now in LA that I don't have a car and walk basically everywhere. I'm trying to bring it over to the West Coast to these people who like to "sit down and eat"--BAH! What is this blasphemy of enjoying a meal with friends in a cozy, relaxed setting? COME ON! (shake my head, shake my head). I think Los Angeles needs some good old-fashioned East Coast neurosis. (did I properly use that? do I even care? NO! take that for NYC attitude).
Here's a little how-to guide on the art of eating and walking. You may be asking yourself, "Nina, how are you in any position to create a guide?" Well guys, I'm pretty much an expert on both eating and walking since I do both more than any other thing, so I'd say I'm pretty darn qualified.
1. Start Small
Like anything, you can't just start something new and go straight to the Olympics. Unless you're not human, in which case I WANT TO BE FRIENDS WITH YOU. But it's not like I started out eating full steak dinners while navigating Union Square. I'm not saying I NEVER did that* but you have to work your way up to the top. Start with simplicity, like breakfast bars or peanutbutter & jelly sandwiches. They aren't messy and easy to put in your schoolbag or purse.
*I never did that
Before you get to the top level of eating and walking, you need to mix it up. So you're getting really good at eating Clif bars and bagels while rushing to catch the bus. Try adding in a drink to the mix. It seems pretty simple, but it's actually a challenge! For instance, even an old veteran like me had trouble whilst walking yesterday, trying to balance my venti iced coffee and sandwich:
Once you conquer what I've just made up as the "Sip & Eat" you are ready to move onto the final level.
3. Eating full out meals without choking and/or looking deranged
This is my favorite. It's that moment in any great eater-walker's life when you eat full-out meals while walking. At NYU, I managed to eat delicious salads while walking to class or home or work. Sure, I got a few stares, but who got the last laugh?! I DID! And so did my belly! So BOO-YA. But seriously, after you eat your first meal on the go, you'll feel such a sense of empowerment you'll wonder, "Why don't I do this ALL the time?!"
So go on little grasshoppers--go out into the world and amaze them with your mobile eating skills!!!!!!!!!