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.

Here Comes the Story of the Hurricane

31 Aug

Being a New York resident, I feel it only necessary to do the obligatory Hurricane Irene blogpost.  For lack of a better, more adventurous and thrilling tale of survival, I will now proceed to give you a rundown of my mundane weekend spent cooped up in a small New York City apartment with a few friends and a shitload of alcohol:

Saturday, 11 AM:  Wake up with slight hangover due to previous night’s escapades.  Look out window and survey the scene.  Eerily quiet and desolate for New York, yet also surprisingly lively considering the doomsday flags they have featured on the 5-day forecast on TV.

12 PM:  Brunch.  After walking a few blocks west in morbid humidity, we arrive at the restaurant, only to discover it’s even hotter inside.  I do not handle heat well, as is obvious from my frequent menopausal tendencies.  Upon being seated, I quickly strip off my rainboots and socks.  No shoes, no shirt, no service?  Lies.

Makeshift Bar...not too shabby

1:30 PM:  Wander back to the apartment, stopping at CVS and the liquor store to pick up last minute emergency supplies for the weekend: crayons, sketch paper, molding clay, sparkling wine, 3 bottles St. Germain Elderflower liquor, brandy, peach schnapps.  I know, I know, something seems wrong here.  But don’t worry, we already had the 3 bottles of vodka and bottles of red, white and rose wine sitting patiently at home, along with a trusty set of playing cards.

2:00 PM:  Catch the end of Definitely, Maybe, followed by the end of Failure to Launch.

2:30 PM:  Begin process of soaking watermelon with vodka.  This proved difficult, but we managed and boy, did that watermelon have an experience that won’t soon be forgotten.

3:30 PM:  DVR The Proposal.

4:00 PM:  Order Chinese delivery.  Bake large cookie cake.  Begin preparations for Sangria.

Every time is a good time for sangria

4:15 PM:  Cheers!

4:30 PM:  Find Wet Hot American Summer DVD.  Watch Wet Hot American Summer.  Quote entire movie while eating wonton soup and cold sesame noodles with peanut butter.

6:00 PM:  Remove air conditioners from windows in preparation for hurricane, despite there still not being any rainfall.

6:01 PM:  Hot and strategically placing fans throughout apartment.

6:05 PM:  Realizing that removing AC was terrible idea, and that we have no way of getting the units back in the windows.  Wonderful.  Hot, sweaty, and wonderful.  Quickly change into shorts.

6:30 PM:  Watch The Proposal, commercial free.  Thank you DVR.

6:45 PM:  Eat cookie cake.  Mmmmm.

7:20 PM:  Crayon sketching begins.  Amid rainbows and stick figures, a few frustrated artists are born.

8:30 PM:  Begin making requests for Danna and the molding clay.  The Apt 2C Zoo officially opens its doors.  Rather than making molding clay a group activity, we realize that we prefer to bark orders at one person.  Make me a bicycle, clown!

Leo the Lion, Nelson the Elephant, Teeny the Pig, Kenneth the Koala, and Mehanata the Whale

10:00 PM:  Break out the cards and play Asshole.  Eventually realize we are not playing Asshole and instead are actually playing Bullshit.  Spend 10 minutes trying to remember and piece together rules for Asshole.  Play Asshole.

11:00 PM:  Missy decides to brave the storm and walk home.  We wish her well on her journey, hoping she doesn’t get blown away.  It is now pouring rain and the wind is picking up, but she is brave and armed with wellies, hooded waterproof jacket, and umbrella.  Pretty much a white, Jewish Al Roker.

11:30 PM:  Shower and attempt to not feel like a gluttonous slug of a human being.  Shower makes me clean, yet proves unsuccessful in every other aspect.

12:30 PM:  Place fan directly next to face, blowing at high speed, and collapse atop my bed.  Drift off into sleep hoping the city is not floating out to sea sans power and cable the next morning.

Sunday, 10 AM:  Wake up.  Lights are working.  Clock is working.  News is playing in the living room.  We are still alive!  Quickly realize it is no longer raining.  Seriously?

10:20 AM:  Eat bowl of cereal.

11:00 AM:  Take a walk.  It feels amazing outside, despite a slight spitting of rain.  Everything is closed and boarded/taped up.  Streets are not empty, but quite quiet for a Sunday in New York.  Bagel place is packed with line out the door, naturally.

12:00 PM:  Jen heads home to shower and run.  I take a nap on the couch.  Danna does arts and crafts.  I wake up an hour or so later to decorative artwork displayed on our fridge and the vodka watermelon now carved with roses.

2:00 PM:  Jen returns.  We cut into the watermelon and proceed to muddle the fruit despite not having a proper muddler.  We use our fingers and the bottom of the St. Germain bottle.  Pretty crafty, eh?  Concoct watermelon cocktails with vodka watermelon, watermelon water, and St. Germain.  So unbelievably yummy and refreshing.

Fresh watermelon cocktail

2:30 PM:  Watch The Switch.  Surprisingly better than expected.  It is now quite beautiful outside.  It is a disaster area within the apartment.  Slight confusion all around.

4:00 PM:  Eat leftovers from brunch the day before and polish off cold sesame noodles.

5:00 PM:  Play Egyptian Ratscrew.  Competitive personalities reveal themselves.  Eventually stop playing this game.

6:30 PM:  Make dinner.  Realize I have not drank any water all day.  Realize I have spent all weekend eating terrible food and watching 2nd rate television.  Continue eating dinner, flip through channels.

Sunday evening/night:  Watch VMA’s.  Lady Gaga is a dude now, Adele is awesome, Beyonce is preggers.  Check MTA website and learn that subways will in fact be running as of 6 AM Monday morning.  Accept that Monday will be a work day as usual.  Go to bed.

All in all, a pretty standard weekend, except that instead of eating, drinking, and socializing at legitimate establishments throughout the city, I sat around in sweats while sweating my ass off and partook in all these activities in the comfort of my own home.  Plus, I got to scratch a few titles off my bad-rom-coms-I-never-wanted-to-pay-money-for-but-at-some-point-wanted-to-see list.  So thanks, Irene, for a lovely, boring, food-filled, alcohol-driven, hot mess of a weekend.

Hey there Fellas

25 Aug

This one’s for the guys.  With September on the horizon, Fall fashion is suddenly upon us.  Not sure how to incorporate this season’s top trends from the magazines into your realistic, everyday wardrobe?  Hop over to Reality Chic and check out my latest post on Men’s Fashion for a few tips on that very subject HERE

Could You Spare a Moment of Your Time?

21 Aug

As I approached the subway entrance she came into sight.  I was heading straight toward her with no defense, nothing I could do to stop the inevitable.  The brightly colored pamphlet in her hand, I was helpless against her cheery early-morning smile and well-rehearsed speech just waiting to be unloaded onto my already annoyed ears.  As I walked closer, I tried to look away, maintain eye contact straight ahead, avoiding her at all costs.  I tried to pick up the pace, act like I had somewhere important to be (I did actually…it’s called work).  I tried to position myself awkwardly close to the person in front of me so that she could not possibly target both of us, thus throwing him into the fire and getting away unburned (and without a pamphlet).  I was mere inches away from her now, and very much aware that no one that had come before me had escaped her grasp.  My body tensed and I made a lunge for the subway stairs leading underground, waiting for her spiel to be unleashed upon me.  I was in the thick of it now, right in her line of fire.  Shit.  Shit.  Shit.  No way out.  And then, miraculously, I was past her, without so much as a hello or excuse me.  She had skipped me altogether, for which, yes, I was grateful.  Yet once beyond her, I could hear as she lured the middle-aged man behind me into her invisible flyer lair, and then the lady behind him, and the one behind her.  The words “Special Election” floated through the air as I made my way underground, and I was suddenly completely aware of what had happened.

I look young, due mostly to my height, or lack thereof.  And my work environment is pretty casual, so on a normal basis I am not jazzed up to the nines at 9 AM, polished to perfection with heels to boot.  I do not, however, consider myself to look younger than 18, and thus it quickly became very clear that this woman skipped me simply due to my age, and the voting tendencies within my age group.  She ignored me completely, assuming that as a young individual, I most likely don’t care about politics and wouldn’t be voting in any special election that was important enough to her to be flyering to the ignorant masses at 8:45.  I understand that MTV’s Rock the Vote campaigns, among others, haven’t always been the most successful, but I also know that young people today do care about the government, and do want their voices heard.  For every person my age that could give two shits about voting, there’s another who cares immensely.  You never know which one you are going to encounter, dear pamphlet lady, so who are you to discriminate and discern who gets the pamphlet?

Am I a registered voter in the state of New York?  No.  Would I most likely have thrown the pamphlet away without so much as skimming the title?  Probably.  But she didn’t know that.  As far as she was concerned, there was just enough of a chance for me to throw away the pamphlet as the 45-year-old woman two people back from me on the sidewalk.  When you sign up to annoy pedestrians and hand out unwanted papers to people rushing to get to work before their morning cup of coffee, you sign up to target everyone on the pavement, regardless of race, gender, and age.  This is America, goddammit, and we all deserve the chance to push your hand away and tell you we’re not interested.  If that’s not why our ancestors sailed to this great country, then I honestly can’t say why any of us are here.

Next time I see that lady on the corner, if she ignores me again, perhaps I’ll pivot and ask her directly for one of those dearly important pamphlets of hers, just to prove a point and shake up her outdated notions about the jaded American youth of today.  I’d like to see her face when I approach her, and not the other way around.  And then of course I’ll throw the pamphlet away once I turn the corner, and then proceed to pummel people on my way down the stairs to make my train.  I do have places to be, after all.  Clearly I have no time to waste on pamphlet ladies and whatever causes they have to share with me.  Unless of course we’re talking about saving the rainforests.  Now that’s a cause worth a pamphlet grab.

Summer Style Tips

18 Aug

This isn’t exactly a brand spankin’ new post, but I have a feeling you (whoever “you” are) will survive.  I’ve just branched out and am now currently a RealityChicBlog.com style blogger.  Once a week you’ll be getting tips from me in the style department, starting with today’s post about keeping your cool in the hot summer sun (and arctic office AC).  So click your way to Reality Chic every Thursday for the latest and greatest from Yours Truly (as well as a few other awesome writers I have a feeling you’ll enjoy).  Having trouble getting started?  Try clicking right…. HERE

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