There’s a particular brand of shame that comes with being a tourist, particularly as an American. Especially in Europe, American tourists are almost universally received with a mixture of annoyance and exasperation, the kind usually reserved for flies buzzing around the ear or children crying on airplanes.
If you’ve been on Facebook recently, you may have at some point stumbled across the page called Humans of New York. The page is insanely popular, with 1,424,016 likes and thousands of comments and shares on each post. The premise is relatively simple: every couple of days, photographer Brandon Stanton posts portraits of and quotes from interviews with random New Yorkers he approaches on the street.
When I tell people my name, people often ask if I’m named after the city, or, if they’re particularly bookish, the library. I’m actually named after neither. For a long time before I was born, my mother couldn’t figure out what to name me. She really liked Caitlin as a middle name, but had no idea what would be good for my actual name.