Archive | September, 2011

Verdict: Not Guilty

12 Sep

I’ve always considered myself as someone plagued with guilt.  I don’t mean this in the “I stole the last cookie and it wasn’t mine and it was also priced at $4.50 in the shop that donates all of its proceeds to orphans” kind of guilt.  Or the “I killed a man” kind of guilt (I’ve never killed a man, just to clarify).  I also don’t mean this in the standard “I’m Jewish so I automatically feel guilty about inane crap 95% of the time” sense of the word.  I mean, rather, that I always seem to feel for people.

There’s the homeless guy that always tells people to have a wonderful day at my subway station as they walk right by him without donating a penny.  I have publicly sworn that once I make my millions, I am going go give him a nice chunk of that money (fyi: if this isn’t reason enough to publish my writing and give me a multi-million dollar book deal, then I really don’t know what is).  I feel terrible for the man who owns the little fruit stand on 86th Street between 2nd and 3rd, very inconveniently where Fairway just opened.  I promise, poor fruit stand man, that I will buy your 5 bananas for $1.  I’m that person that never wants to tell the barista that I didn’t in fact order the drink that they prepared for me, and thus I usually just suck it up and drink whatever happens to be in that white and green cup.  I always act interested when random people talk to me, and laugh at their not-funny anecdotes about who knows what.  I also try to act extra interested in what those volunteer tour guides at the Metropolitan Museum of Art have to say, because I feel bad that half the people aren’t listening and that they are spending all of their time trying to get us uncultured civilians to understand the amazingness that is this ancient art.  I also make sure to tell them afterward how wonderful their tour was, and how much I learned.  Whenever people come through the subway singing doo-wop or playing the drum or playing in a mariachi band, I do occasionally tip, and I always offer an encouraging smile.

I think I just genuinely want people to feel appreciated, or feel that at the very least, someone cares.  This is especially true whenever I am in a taxicab.  These people spend long hours driving our asses around to eat, drink, and be merry, all the while making hardly anything.  At times I’ve talked to these nice people, and learned that they have families waiting to move to America from far off lands, or that they’ve put their son through college by driving this here cab for 20-some years.  I’ve also never forgotten how whenever a patron uses a credit card, they end up making even less money.  I obviously never have cash on me, and so I compensate by leaving bigger tips.  And if they are pleasant or considerate or whatever, I bump that tip up even more.  I appreciate that they are chauffeuring me around New York, and so I want them to know that I appreciate it.  And so last night, when I had an absolutely terrible and heinous cab driver, who was more than rude and made the entire trip more difficult and uncomfortable than was necessary on any level, I felt horrible giving a bad tip.  But he was seriously rude and yelled at us the entire time, continuously tried to restart the meter so that he could charge the extra service fees over and over, almost skipped a stop altogether, and then argued that he didn’t want to take us to our destination because it was out of his way.  All we asked was that he make two stops, and considering that we would be paying for the full fare at the end of the ride, I don’t see how this was anything over which to be berated and verbally abused.

And so, when we finally reached our destination and the time came to pay the fare, I did what I have never done before and tipped based entirely on service – a full $1.  Even as I did it, I felt remorse.  Did I really have to stoop this low?  I swiped my card, hit the appropriate buttons, and got out of the cab, beginning to walk away.  He yelled, “See, you only gave $1 as tip, this is why I should have restarted the meter”, to which I replied, “No, that’s why you should have been nice and not completely rude to us at every chance you got.”  But I still felt bad.  I walked away and tried to ignore him as he yelled at us, not looking back.  I was after all, in the right, even though I felt guilty about my bad tip-giving.  And that’s when Mr. Cab Driver completely changed my outlook.

“Are you guys from Israel?”

Thank you, cabbie, for reaffirming my decision in giving you a terrible tip and for proving with your blatant anti-Semitic comment that some people in this world are simply dicks, nothing more, and don’t deserve my kindness or guilt.  Also, a word of advice for you: New York City, pretty much the North Pole for us Jews, is not the place for you.

It’s In The (Man) Bag

9 Sep

For all the gentlemen out there who find themselves jealous of a woman’s ability to store many a random item in one bag, especially one with organized compartments, this one’s for you.  2011 is a time when people have the freedom to define their own fashion and style standards, yet often times gender restrictions dictate what we can and cannot do.  Luckily for you, gents, you no longer have to sacrifice your manlihood for organization and practicality.  Hop skip and jump on over to Reality Chic for my most recent article on men’s bags for the Fall season.  You are very welcome in advance.

Bargain Hunting

1 Sep

With end-of-summer-sales upon us, tempting us with their clearance racks, % off signs, and allure of unbelievable deals that seem too good to be true, we could all use a little help navigating the ins and outs of bargain shopping.  CLICK HERE for my weekly article on Reality Chic for a How-To guide on surviving the deals, steals, and unbearable crowds associated with this unavoidable shopping ritual.  Seriously, just click on the link.  Do it.  You know you want to.

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