Tuesday, July 11, 2006

An Evening in New York


I stopped by the barber on the way home tonight; I've been going to the same guy on Christopher Street in the West Village for about 10 years now. He's Ecuadorean and speaks English, but sometimes he and I have no idea what we're talking about. Tonight I think we reached a singular impasse.

David: So, what's new with you?

Me: (proudly) I got kittens!

David: (somberly, seriously) Oh, no, I'm sorry. Did you have to take a test?

Me: (puzzled) Ummm...no...

David: No? You didn't have to go to the hospital?

Me: (wondering what the FUCK he thinks I said) Nnnnnooo....I got them from a rescue service, for my birthday.

David: Oh, okay, well...you take care of yourself. Let me know how you're doing, okay?


There are two kinds of trains on the A line. One has molded plastic individual orange and yellow seats; the other is more of a long, corrugated tin can with benches along each wall. On the way home from the barber (after stopping at the clearance rack at Banana Republic on 8th Avenue because I wanted new pants) I was on one of the tin cans.

The tin cans have better air conditioning, but because it's just a bench instead of individual seats, people tend to hog the space. Case in point: I got on at 14th Street and had to stand as there were no seats, but one of the guys seated in front of me, at the end of a row by the door, got off at 34th Street. The guy who had been sitting next to him moved over toward the end, but only halfway, leaving not enough room for a person on either side of him. Hot and tired and slightly irritated (it was a great day at work, oof), I just decided to sit between him and the next guy, which meant I sort of landed on him, but as soon as he moved his selfish ass over (literally), there was plenty of room.



Then I had to stop at the grocery store on my way home. (Click here and here for Andy's earlier adventures at this store.) They were out of flushable cat litter. This is one of the things I truly, deeply hate about grocery shopping in New York: if you want something specific, you have to be prepared to accept that you can't find it in this city where supposedly you can find anything, 24 hours a day. Reduced Fat Wheat Thins? Out. Low-Fat Emmentaler? Out. Flushable cat litter? Out. My breakfast drink of choice? Out. California Pizza Kitchen-brand BBQ chicken pizza? Out. Buitoni Sweet Italian Sausage Tortelloni? Out. This store was once out of Diet Coke.

Let's not even talk about the produce. If you're looking for the bin where onions cleaved by the harvesting machine go to rot and sprout, try the Associated on Fort Washington.

Since I only got two of the things on my list (ice and tonic water), I could go through the express lane, 10 items or less.

The woman at the register was arguing with the clerk, claiming an item she was buying was on sale, but the register was scanning it at full price. The clerk called the manager over.

Clerk: Jose, she say this on sale.

Woman: I'm sure I saw it in the circular in the newspaper.

Jose: I don't know. Maybe.

Woman: Well, don't you have the circular here?

Jose: Yeah, in the office. (A pause. The woman looks at him like, "Well...?" and he goes away and comes back with it.) Yeah, it's on sale.

Woman: (triumphantly) See?

The next woman, in front of me, has 12 items. I am irritated and consider saying something, because the sign CLEARLY says "10 items or less," but decide it's just not worth it. Karma, I say to myself. Those who are first will be last. So the clerk rings up all 12 items. $28.12.

Woman: Oh, I only have $25. Let's see...let's take off that yogurt.

Register: $27.23.

Woman: Oh. Umm, well, I guess I don't need the cereal.

Register: $23.28.

Woman: Oh, now I can afford the yogurt, let's put that back on.

Me: (aside) I hate her sooo much, it, it the, it, flame, flames, FLAMES on the side of my face, breathing, breathle...heaving breaths, heaving....


Brent said...

Have you experienced a store with the self check out lanes yet? Imagine braniacs like you described, but left on their own to check out! That's when the clueless stand out like a sore thumb.

Crash said...

Anyone who quotes Madeline Kahn has a place in my heart.

Future Geek said...

I didn't know you'd been in New York for 10 years. Huh.

Loved the stories.

Matthew said...

What is it about blogging that can turn such annoying experiences into a thing of amusement? Thanks for posting these experiences.

DJRainDog said...

Andy: Wanna move to Chicago with me? I actually LIKE it there. (I'll post details shortly...I've been running around like a madman ever since I got back last night.)

Andy said...

Brent: Actually, I did encounter that on a trip out to Oregon in February -- and I LOVED it! But no, they'd never ever be able to install it up in this neighborhood. In addition to incomptence, it's just an open invitation to get ripped off.

FG: I've actually been in NY since January of 1994!

DJ: Not really. I lived in Chicago for a summer and was not impressed. The boys? Oh, yes. But the city? (Shedd Aquarium and the Art Institute aside) Blech.

DJRainDog said...

Ecch. Does that mean you prefer this miserable grimy stinking sh*thole we call New York? Madness, I tell you! (For record, Chicago's changed a LOT, even just over the last 5 or so years...And who WOULDN'T want an apartment in a high-rise on Lakeshore Drive with a gorgeous view for less than one pays for a Washington Heights hovel?) ;-)

Andy said...

I recall being very, very homesick for NY when I was in Chicago. You know I have my issues with NY (clearly!), but I'm not trading Manhattan in for someplace with even WORSE winters and MORE HUMID summers. No. Uh-uh. Sorry. Oh, and, GOODNESS, if I hate how people can't walk on sidewalks in NY, it's 1000x worse in Chicago, where most people's asses are as wide as Michigan Avenue itself.

kr pdx said...

Speaking of Manhattan, Andy, I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that you've got the dating thing all wrong, per your comment about two weeks ago about looking in gay bars in Manhattan for guys who prefer to go to sleep by 10 PM:

I'm guessing that what a person like you needs are some really good gay coffeeshops that are hangoutable-in. Places where guys are intrigued by the guy sitting in a corner reading something picaresquely intellectual ;).

If there aren't places like that in Manhattan, well, somebody ought to tap the market!

DJRainDog said...

Meh...Take this Gotham and shove it. New York is a sham; it makes empty promises, takes everything, gives nothing. It IS amazing what you can't get in this city. If my band doesn't reconvene fruitfully (and soon), and if I don't have what I want within the year, I'm leaving with a moving truck. (Personally, I thought Chi-town was LESS humid, and I love brutal winters, and if I moved there, I'd probably never leave the Lakeview area, which mitigates the posterior size...)

Jess said...

So will you need a kittenectomy? Do you want me to ask at the hospital and see if anyone specializes in this?

chiron said...

Won't you please come to Chicago for the summer!!!???

Gay games are starting this weekend. Amid all the maniced preparations, I'm still sleeping 9-10 hours a day, so my blog is empty. But there's so much to tell you...more soon!

DJRainDog said...

See, Andy?! Chicago boys ARE nicer! ;-) (Chiron: Were you at Spencer's opening night? Thought I saw you, but wasn't sure...)

Andy said...

Look, I'm not singing New York's praises, here. Is Chicago better? Maybe. Who cares? Still not good enough.

chiron said...

Hi Rain Dog! No I wasn't at opening night, but I tickets for tomorrow night to see it with my pal Rajiv.

If you can't be with us for the Gay Games, then join us in Spirit as we form a fairy circle around Buckingham Fountain and levitate the Pentagon! LOL!

DJRainDog said...

Sorry if I've irritated you on the Chicago vs. New York issue; I just kinda thought a change of scenery might do you good. I care enormously, you know. ;-)

Chiron: I totally wish I could be in Chicago for the Gay Games; I imagine it's going to be a LOT of fun! Prepare to be riveted by Spencer's show. I haven't posted my review yet, as I'm still editing, but I was pretty blown away (perhaps more so because I didn't know him already -- and I think if anyone's got enough fairy dust to levitate the Pentagon, it's probably he). ;-)