The Navigator newsletter lands in your inbox every other Friday. Sign up here!

“Hello?” she said on the phone.

I whipped my head around to look at the transgressor. The Amtrak quiet car had suddenly become not so quiet. How annoying, I thought, fighting the urge to shush the person. Instead, I vented on Twitter, as one does.

It dawned on me that I was becoming … that person—the enforcer of rules. That’s ironic, because when I first came to America, I didn’t know a lot of these rules. I’ve demonstrated bad escalator etiquette; I’ve texted in the movie theater. I know, I know—but it’s all true, I’m afraid.

The rules regulating one space often differ from those regulating another. That’s obvious, but easy to forget the longer you stay in a place. We all code-switch between contexts, but it may not always be a smooth transition. And even in the same space, the code—whatever it is—can sometimes be enforced differently for different people. (Just ask the two black guys at the Rittenhouse Square Starbucks in Philadelphia, who were arrested just minutes after they sat down.)

So tell me about how you’ve code-switched between different spaces. Did you have trouble transitioning? Did you commit any faux-pas? Drop me a line at tmisra@theatlantic.com.

Reading List:

This week on CityLab: If you think Dutch cities are all about that weed, you’re so wrong. ¤ In L.A.? Grab dinner with a stranger and talk about race. ¤ Why does the online presence of local newspapers suck so damn much? ¤ The demise of “dese, dem, dose,” and other Midwestern linguistic quirks. ¤ Brutalism, interrupted. ¤ An art exhibition bringing America’s eviction crisis to life. ¤ Brazil’s favelas are sprouting community gardens. ¤ “By the time urban renewal arrived in Pittsburgh’s Hill District, Memphis Lee’s diner was already done for.” ¤ Need Avocados, Kombucha, and Cheap Houses? Come live in the ‘burbs of Chicago! ¤

Here's what else we're reading, watching, and listening to:

Attack of the tumbleweeds! (New York Post) ¤ Artists and photographers are obsessed with Mumbai’s iconic black and yellow taxis. (Scroll.in) ¤ Why have restaurants become so unbearably loud?! (Vox) ¤ “The size and landscape of those salt gardens is just overwhelming.” (Atlas Obscura) ¤ Queer love and Christianity collide in Mizoram, India. (The Caravan) ¤ The robots are coming…to assemble your IKEA furniture. (New Yorker) ¤ Portraits from lower Alabama. (The Bitter Southerner) ¤

This weekend, also check out CityLab fellow Sarah Holder’s recommendation:

In New York in the ‘80s, "People lived louder and larger than they had just years before,” writes Frank Bruni. MTV launches. Hip Hop transforms the city. Madonna and Rupaul debut. Reagan takes office. Immigrant and avant-garde artists rise. AIDS runs rampant, and goes unaddressed. This month's issue of NYT Style Magazine pays tribute to a decade that molded the city in ways that resonate today. What’s that word for feeling nostalgic for a time you didn’t even experience? Felt that.

OK, we have one more: Design/architecture nerd Mark Byrnes wants to shout out this photographer who has been documenting construction projects around the world that were aborted due to the financial crisis.

View from the ground:

@keithimus shot converging corners in Manhattan, @dariiuuu photographed the golden hour in Seville, @m_bracher shot the colorful homes of Nuremberg, and @enkrall captured the gritty architecture of Santo Domingo.

Tag us on Instagram with the hashtag #citylabontheground.

Over and out,

Tanvi

@Tanvim

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. a photo of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick in 2016.
    Transportation

    What Uber Did

    In his new book on the “Battle for Uber,” Mike Isaac chronicles the ruthless rise of the ride-hailing company and its founding CEO, Travis Kalanick.

  2. Transportation

    A Micromobility Experiment in Pittsburgh Aims to Get People Out of Their Cars

    The Pittsburgh Micromobility Collective will create all-in-one mobility hubs near transit stops, to compete with Uber and Lyft and help commuters go car-free.

  3. A photo of a police officer in El Paso, Texas.
    Equity

    What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings

    Two new studies have revived the long-running debate over how police respond to white criminal suspects versus African Americans.

  4. a photo of a NYC bus
    Transportation

    Why the Bus Got So Bad, and How to Save It

    TransitCenter’s Steven Higashide has created a how-to guide to help city leaders and public transportation advocates save struggling bus systems.

  5. Perspective

    How Cities Address the Housing Crisis, and Why It’s Not Enough

    Local officials from across the U.S. are gathering to discuss ways to address the affordable housing crisis but, they say the federal government must do more.

×