Last week I donned my favorite jacket which loving wife gave to me for my birthday, the Barbour Sapper, and I left the house for work. The morning routine. I strolled to the Carroll Street stop, as I always do, and proceeded to the exact spot on the underground platform that will deposit me nearest the exit at my destination. Repetition breeds efficiency. I turned my Kindle on, and proceed to dig into the Lincoln autobiography I’ve been slogging through for the past 2 months, and in so doing, I leaned against the platform girder pole. The same girder pole I always lean against. I’m a leaner. Always leaning. When I got to the city and took my jacket off, my hands touched something wet and sticky. This is unequivocally a bad tactile sensation to have after a subway ride. It can never bode well.And sure enough, horror of horrors, I had a massive stripe of girder-colored oil-based paint along my shoulder. Seems that my leaning pole had been freshly painted, though no one labeled it as such. Or perhaps someone thought it amusing to remove the sign? Ha ha. Staring at my ruined jacket, I had the kind of unique fury that is utterly impotent, for there is no proper recipient and nowhere to direct it. I walked it over to the Barbour store on Wooster, and the dude was like, “Well, we can send it off to the factory and maybe they’ll be able to improve it.” That’s not the verb I was hoping to hear. Anyway, now it’s in Barbour’s hands. A ruthless and vengeful New York City decided that it was going to take my jacket and kill it. You cannot fight this town when it spontaneously decides a sacrifice is necessary; that there will be blood. I guess that sense of surprise and fear helps keep our relationship fresh.
Well, folks, the post-Thanksgiving holiday spirit madness is somehow already in fourth gear. If you happen to work in Manhattan, you are no doubt keenly aware of this as the streets are already completely clogged with frenzied shoppers. My office is on Broadway in Soho, which is second only to Rockefeller Center and Herald Square in terms of being Mayhem Central. Walking to work this time of year is a contact sport.Now I have a confession to make. The past few years, I have struggled to combat an inner-Grinchiness that surfaces in December. The causes of it aren’t unique, so I’ll spare you the psychoanalysis. My loving wife has worked hard to try and turn this Yule-moodiness around by making our apartment a happy, festive environment and, in spite of myself, it’s working. One of her latest favorite decorating sources is this online home & garden store, Terrain, and I know this because there are large boxes with their logo on it arriving at my apartment every day. I have to admit that if you’re going to do some holiday-specific shopping for your home, they have really great stuff. Natural decorations made from plants and organic materials and vaguely rustic, homespun kinds of decor. Much more creative and less lame than the usual cheesy gilded holiday fare. Makes it harder to be a crank when everything is so well put together.The other thing that’s fading my seasonal malaise is watching the wonderment in my two-year-old’s eyes as she experiences some of these things for the first time. It’s a cliché, but through her these things no longer seem contrived. That said, I’m not completely cured: check back with me after I attempt to wrangle a Fraser fir into my living room.
Oh, I’m sorry, is this your personal subway? No one gets a seat for themselves AND their bags. I call bullshit on that. And just because you deliberately don’t make eye contact with me doesn’t mean you’re released from this obligation.
Hit me in the nose for a third time with the edge of your newspaper while turning the page on this packed rush hour train. I double-dog dare you.No singing. No matter how compelling the music blaring in your ear buds might be.
You’re all packed near the door like Pringles. Move to the center of the train. It’s an oasis in there. Come on, guys. I’d do it for you! (Maybe.)
This ain’t a cafeteria. No fried food or fish on this train. Hell no.
You honestly don’t need to jockey for the exit door in front of me when I’m leaving, too.Ma’am? There’s NO room. No one else can fit in this packed car. By squeezing in like this against me, you can’t just make the “whaddya gonna do?” expression and expect everything to be cool between us. We should at least have a cocktail together before this level of intimacy.
And please, oh please, don’t fart. Not even a little, because ‘Ma’am’ just made your skinny ass invade my ever shrinking sphere. Can’t I just enjoy my book?
Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, and have a blessed day.
Welcome to today’s most depressing place…the United States Post Office on East 14th Street. You see, if you don’t arrive there before 8:45AM to get in line to pick up your package when the window opens at 9:00AM, you are sure to spend a solid hour or even two waiting for the absolute slowest service one could imagine…and with a healthy dose of attitude. Awesome!And why, you ask, does one have to go to pick up a package there? Not because we weren’t home when they tried to deliver it. Not because the package was too big for normal delivery. And certainly not because this is some sort of supper secret delivery that requires a full interrogation before they’ll allow you to get your sinewy paws on your coveted package. It’s because this particular post office doesn’t even try to deliver your packages! THEY DON’T EVEN TRY! All they do is slide a little slip into your mailbox informing you that if you want what someone was kind enough to send, the torture of a long wait in a shit pot of a hell hole room is in your very near future. It’s gotten so bad that we don’t even pick up packages from there anymore. They usually just sit until they are returned to the sender. “Darn! We’ll just grab it next time we see you.” Except for this morning I was picking up a gift for the kids. Can’t let that one sit, can you Grinch?! Arrrgggg!