a Day in the Life

This morning, I got on a plane to Chicago for a meeting.   The plan was, that after the meeting, I would take a cab from potential client back to the airport for a plane to take me home.

I hear they have these new-fangled things called telephones and video conferencing that makes one-day round-trip travel less necessary.  Actually, most times, the older and ever more quaint tradition of meeting someone and shaking his or her hand is really the best approach to sealing the deal that turns a potential client into a new client.  But I still need all of the gadgets and technology to meet somewhat far flung potential clients in real time and in the flesh.  So neither alone works as well as both do together, in the right proportions.  (If we are talking about teenagers and adult email/text junkies, then you need to send them to a monastery to start a 12-step program before even talking rationally to them.)

As I am floating along in a technology-induced empowerment daydream (it is early for me, remember), I realize that this morning’s trip is on a put-put plane.  The gangway doesn’t go all the way to the plane.  We have to step outside in the sleet and the rain and jump over puddles (that could qualify as rivers) in order to climb the thin (as in one-at-a-time only), small staircase into our claustrophobic airplane.  So much for my earlier comments on the power of technology.  I am no longer dreaming.  I am awake to the reality of a cold, wet, snowy day with wet feet and barely two inches separating me from my fellow passenger.

There is an woman in row 7 indirectly trying to get the attention of the flight attendant who is attending to things behind row 22. The woman is being very passive-aggressive about it all — telling everyone that the flight attendant is avoiding her.  Clearly, the flight attendant doesn’t hear her.  Finally, I ask the woman if I could help get the flight attendant’s attention.  She responds, “it’s her job to notice me!!!”  Ok, forget the personal touch.  Get me the hell out of this plane.  What is wrong with video conference?  I bet a new rainmaking tactic could be handwritten letters (in crayon, of course) sent by snail mail.  No.  No.  I will not let this woman ruin my dreams of global domination by charming and cajoling and pleading with potential clients far and wide.  No.  No. So I motioned to the flight attendant that the woman needed her.  Had it been an hour earlier, I would have left the plane and took a cab home and hid under the covers.

It seems that the woman — an oversized person — was promised a seat in an exit row because of the extra leg room but she was seated in row 7 — not an exit row.  The flight attendant couldn’t re-seat her until everyone was seated.  The woman was not pleased and she showed it by griping and grousing at an anger level and amplitude that was just criminal at 8am.

Ultimately, she was able to be re-seated in an exit row.  But the seat didn’t recline because there was a second exit row right behind the first one.  (The put-put plane that had more exits than windows.)  Sooooo, slowing our departure further, Goldilocks had to try the seats in the second exit row.  Those seats reclined.  Ah, she found the one that would do ju-u-u-ust fine.  [sigh] Wait, uh oh, the seatbelts don’t fit.  A cruel joke engineered by Papa Bear because he hates when Goldilocks comes, tries everything and leaves a mess.

So, in the end, she moved back up to row 7, opting for a reclining seat over leg room.  I would have opted for leg room with no reclining seat.  Ultimately, I am glad she was not in charge of the exit doors. I didn’t agree with her judgment call.

Goldilocks caused us to miss our place in take-off and we sat for one hour on the runway.  No wonder Papa Bear hates when she comes by, which happens many times, every night, given how many times the story is told on any given day around the world.

Back to my business meeting.  It went well.  Groveling in person is often effective.  Then I got in a cab to start the journey home.

I was able to get an earlier flight, at a cost of $75 (which I bet would have been $50 if I had checked luggage for $25). Regardless, getting home earlier is priceless and I did, in fact, use a MasterCard so I lived that commercial.

As I headed toward the gate, there was a plane boarding to JFK Airport at the next gate (I was flying into LaGuardia Airport). I wanted to switch again because it was another opportunity to get home even earlier.  Unfortunately, the two airports, although 10 miles apart, are considered different destination cities and there is a big cost differential to change destinations. The plane had been delayed for three hours and there was a line of disgruntled people waiting to board.  I decided that if JFK was that backlogged, that I would save money and not be on a plane ride from hell.

But recognizing the potential for delays and angry hordes, and even though I was assured that LaGuardia was running on time, I decided that an upgrade to first class (not too expensive) was in order, as a mental health prophylactic measure.  Sanity, priceless . . . Another MasterCard commercial.  I am living the dream.  And we were delayed on the tarmac before take-off and we circled before landing, so it was totally worth it.  I had plenty of room and I couldn’t smell anyone’s perfume.  Now, that the Sniffer (see prior blog entry) made me aware of perfume, I really appreciated only have that slightly nasty airplane smell we have come to expect.

So this all started on a put-put plane sitting on a runway on a cold, snowy, sleeting morning. And now I am in my jammies, having kissed my son before he fell asleep and then crawled into my cozy bed and smiling at my beloved.

Another day on the road to Utopia.

Early Bird Special

Today was a snow day of sorts in the City.  Schools were closed; offices weren’t.  Thank Goodness for telecommuting and play dates with children of similarly situated parents.

POB (partner of blogger) and I split the day being the adult in charge. Then our usual Wednesday babysitter came at 5pm so we could have an early version of our usual Wednesday night dinner date. (I say:  Spend a fortune on babysitters and eat pizza if necessary.  Better than spending a fortune on a couples counselor because you don’t spend enough time together.)

So we went to a neighborhood place that was eerily quiet (even for recessionary times) until we realized it was just before 6pm and that this was dinner time for kids and old people.  So we had the restaurant essentially all to us (except for a somewhat lively bar area in the front).  Shortly after we are seated, a mother and child walked into the restaurant.  The mother had that tone-deaf, high-pitched and loud voice (as in she whispers at the top of her lungs).  And, of course, of all the tables, in all the restaurants in all the places on the Upper West Side, the mother chose the table next to ours.

Really, there were 30 tables available in the restaurant.  And she decided to sit next to us.  I still hear her voice ringing in my ears and that caused ripples in the wine in my glass.  She was talking on her iPhone and reading aloud to her daughter every, EVERY, text she received.

They shared filet mignon and a side dish.  The mother had one glass of Malbec.  She forced me to have TWO.

Happily, they ate quickly and left.  Next time we hit the early bird hour, I am setting up a protective perimeter around our table.   WITH DUCT TAPE.  With some left over to muzzle others, if necessary.

Why I love the gym

I was feeling blue and out-of-sorts these past days.  I know that a work-out, even a short one, lifts my mood, so I made sure to pack the necessaries and dash there right after work.

I saw SOB (sister of blogger) there, which is always a treat.

So, there we are — SOB is reading and I am sweating on elliptical machines next to each other.  Very companionable but not necessarily chatty.  I see SOB wipe her face with a towel, but she is just seeing if I am paying attention. SOB does the least she can do at the gym and therefore not enough to work up anything resembling perspiration.

A man comes up to our machines and starts sniffing.  I think, uh oh, there’s a blog entry coming. . . .

I am watching him and I start to sniff, too.  Does someone or something stink?  Do I stink?  He starts talking to me.  OF COURSE, he starts talking to me, because of the S-shaped magnet (S for schmuck) embedded in my forehead that always draws these people to me.

He says that he is allergic to perfume and is relieved that we don’t wear perfume.  In fact, he says, he could tell before he came over because we didn’t look like people who would wear perfume.  I think, is that good or bad?  Is that a compliment or a swipe?  Do SOB and I look too low-maintenance to wear perfume?  Do we look like we don’t take care of our appearance?  Could it be our effortlessly dorky gym attire?

Then the Sniffer tells me that there are men in the locker room who put on cologne before working out.  He believes they read some propaganda about how our natural odors are not good for us.  Now, he is talking crazy talk but I think he is trying to strike up an acquaintance.   Oy.

In deference to SOB, I do not encourage further conversation because he could have been scary crazy (rather than slightly off and socially incompetent) and I want to protect my sister.  Had I been alone, I would have NEEDED to probe more deeply to make a diagnosis.

I have a feeling there will be other opportunities at the gym to talk to the Sniffer.

Tragedy on so many levels

In Tucson, many are dead and injured as a result of a deranged man with a deranged message.

Let’s put aside the left blaming the right and whether it is foreseeable that a lunatic would do this.  That conversation will get us nowhere and misses the point.

I think it is more worthwhile to wonder why politics is a bloodsport these days in a way that we haven’t seen since in perhaps a century.

Let’s think instead about how our politician are so invested in being right that they vilify the oppositional view and the integrity of its proponents.  In 2008, when Michele Bachmann said that then candidate Barack Obama and Michele Obama were “anti-American” because they hold views different from hers, that is a code that our country is being infiltrated by enemies.  Think about it, she said that the likely 44th President was the Manchurian Candidate of the movies.  And in the movies, a lone gunman (the good guy) kills the Manchurian Candidate.

Then Sarah Palin has a website that has a target on Rep. Giffords’ district (“in the cross-hairs”) for some reason or other.  Or the famous, Palinism: “don’t back down, just reload” or something like that.  Words have meaning, even if you try afterward to refudiate them.

This is war-speak.  And in war, enemies are killed, and our soldiers come home to heroes’ welcomes (ideally).  But war produces body-bags, brutality, starvation, desperation and carnage.

Is that the fevered pitch we want in our national discourse?  So, let us speak gently and with respect when we debate.  Even if we have to fake it.

Let’s set some ground rules:

  1. A socialist and tea-party member can love this country and protect the very institutions of government that make us strong.
  2. It isn’t about being right; it is about building a consensus and keeping this country great.
  3. Political defeat is hard to take but you can’t take your marbles and go home or start threatening people.
  4. The media does more to stoke the divisions than provide any useful information.
  5. If our nation tacks to the left or right, some people will not be pleased, but they must always remain the loyal opposition. (It is hard; I know. I had to endure the policies of George Bush and Dick Cheney and even some of President Obama’s policies I don’t like).
  6. Exemplifying and practicing the principles of this nation are essential for this country to move forward in one piece and in peace.

Oh, The Rapture

Ok, according to ebiblefellowship.com, “we’re almost there!!” 

Almost where?  Almost to the Day of Rapture when G-d’s Elect will ascend to Heaven.  (I tried to use a Heavenly color.) 

May 21, 2011, to be exact.

Then, a great fire will consume the rest of the earth, in October.  I guess it is too much of a transportation headache to transport everyone (down?) to Hell, so G-d is just going to throw lighter fluid on an out-of-control oil well or something.

I know this is terrible, but I keep singing Blondie’s song “Rapture”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnhKPw2NXIw (with a little Jim Morrison mixed in for a full apocalyptic/conspiracy theory montage).

SO, I don’t get what happens on the day that the Rapture begins. 

G-d will rule the Earth and G-d’s followers will abide by those rules. 

Ok, according to the Christian theology, G-d already rules and these believers follow the rules. 

Will G-d reward them with “life”? 

They are already alive.    Eternal life?  As long as you stay young, because aging is not for the faint of heart.

Is it just that G-d will rid the universe of the rest of us? 

The Christian thing to do would be just to ignore us.

To be honest, I would like to have that strength of faith.  I would like to believe in a Great Benevolence that will save us.  Because I do believe that this world could be destroyed, except I think the end will come because of human action.   

I guess if Hell will be a place on Earth (in either scenario — theirs or mine), I should cancel that airport limousine I reserved for the End of Days. Because Hell is coming soon to a place near you — check newspapers for times and listings.

um, I guess I wasn’t what you expected

When you have a blog, you can see the searches that people do that get them to your site.  Well, one person searched “what do i need for a vaginal steam bath” and got my blog.  Whoever you are, I am really sorry, but I DID post the article.

I hope the putrid concoction of herbs works for you.

~ Blogger

Walkin’ in a Winter Wonderland

Today was the truest snow day ever.  18 inches of snow in New York City.  Stalled car and buses every where.  Blizzard-scale winds that made me believe in Mary Poppins.  Law firm offices closed.  Let me say that again.  LAW FIRM OFFICES CLOSED EVEN AS THEY TRY TO MAKE BUDGET FOR 2010.  Now, that, THAT, is saying something.  I live in the City and there was no way I was going to make it to the office except by walking, and the blizzard-scale winds would have taken me way off-course.  The Upper West Side of Manhattan is not even plowed 12 hours after the last snowflake fell (don’t they realize that we vote with our ballots and pocketbooks?  Has anyone noticed the UWS demographic has changed????)

POB (partner of blogger) was supposed to go east to the beach with our son (SOPOBAB) and his cousin, our nephew.  Oh, I think Mother Nature is a teeny tiny bit stronger than the sheer will of POB.  Although Mother Nature won, she was bruised and hospitalized.  Anyway, my beautiful prizefighter POB thought that we needed to go sledding.  I thought we needed to drug the boys (just kidding, for all the Child Protective Services personnel who read this).  How else do you keep two rambunctious 8 year-old in check?

So, a-sledding we went.  A winter wonderland.  Sheer, treacherous beauty on West 108th Street.

As I was fretting about the absence of protective gear while trying not to fall down the hill at scary velocity (I remember all too well flying down the hill with SOPOBAB when he was a littler kid.  I also remember buying another life insurance policy the following day, because SOPOBAB would bounce, as children do; I would not have survived another run.)

But, then, life has a way of keeping it all real.  A child, whose family apparently fell on hard times (they must have been slumming by spending year-end at home), stated with disgust, “There isn’t even a hot chocolate shack!” If that were my child, he would be enrolled at military school tomorrow.  Yes, I am passing judgment (and also stating a fact).

Toto, I have a feeling we are not in Aspen anymore. It was so pathetic and sad at the same time that I couldn’t, simply couldn’t, take a picture of the spoiled brat who uttered that line.  Ok, I almost did, but G-d intervened and the battery of my camera failed.  Lucky kid, but karma, as we know, is a boomerang.

BUT, THE BATTERY DID NOT DIE BEFORE I GOT A PICTURE OF A SARTORIAL/PSYCHO-SOCIAL TRAGEDY.  Before I share this vignette, I will note that my own outfit could remind a person of Pippy Longstocking — everything was mismatched in that way that you wear whatever will keep you warm.  In fact, I was wearing a serial-killer hat (depicted in every artist sketch in an all-points bulletin) that made me look particularly deranged and very much like a predicate felon.  But that isn’t what I am talking about.

I am talking about an outfit that could scar a child for life.


Later she yelled at her son who is out of control as he sled down the hill, “watch your kepilah [head]!!!” as if summoning G-d to deliver her from this pagan ritual that assimilation has thrust upon them. The only saving Grace is that this the Upper West Side of New York, with a Jewish population larger than the whole of Israel.  So, we understand.  Because was heard these humiliating stories from our parents as part of their own, very personal, Exodus stories.

A bastardized adage still holds true:

One person’s winter’s wonderland is another person’s proof that Hell DOES freeze over.

That magnetic, NEON, S on my forehead

I am on a crowded subway.  I am seated at the end of a row and a huge woman tries to wedge herself between me and the person a few inches away from me.  On the aisle side, there is a couple — er — um — attempting to couple, and jabbing me with elbows and bags.  Reminds me of that song, “I’ve got clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right . . . “ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8StG4fFWHqg

The couplers take a break and the over-sized  woman gets up and I think all is going to be okay.  But I should have remembered the magnet in my forehead in the shape of an S.  S is for SCHMUCK.

In Seinfeld Show’s Kramer-like fashion, a woman nearly dives for the seat next to me.  I look up, startled.  She is a little freaked out.   She tells me in a breathless voice that she had to change seats because the woman next to her was invading her space tooo much.  (You didn’t see what I just went through, I think.)

Perhaps seeing the skepticism in my eyes (or was it that “I don’t give a sh@t” look?), the woman continues, “when I told [the offending woman] that she needed to sit up, she said, “I have a disability, I LEAN“.

“I have a disability, I LEAN? REALLY?

Crazy, but great line.

Excuse me, did you just call me a whore???

Ok ok ok ok ok ok .

I was nearly getting beheaded on the subway by the Grizzly Adams-sized backpack being wielded by a tall, outdoorsy-looking tourist (why is he in NYC, do you think?).

Then I take a cab and after repeatedly asking the cab driver not to talk on his cell phone, because my head was pounding (concussion?), and having him slam the divider shut, I got angry.  I opened the divider and told him that as a matter of law, he had to stop talking on the phone.  He denied he was talking on the phone.  Maybe he was talking to his demons, but I am not a shrink.  He started speeding to my destination because he was angry at me.  I yelled “Stop!!” followed by a heart-felt “WHAATTT IS WRONG WITH YOU???”

He called me a whore.  Ok, no one has ever called me a whore (or at least not in such a dismissive, contemptuous tone).  I started yelling that he needs to learn how to drive, etc., but no cursing.  I was being as polite as possible under the circumstances.  He jerked the car forward and started to call me things related to my womanhood in a very condescending way.  Such denigration of women was so foreign to me that I was a little gobsmacked and so I didn’t end up denting the car.

I believe that people can find common ground, but right then I wanted to haul him over to the police and have him stripped of his hack license (assuming he had one).  I think I would still want to kick him you-know-where even when I calm down.

I lodged a complaint with the Taxi and Limousine Commission.  I am ready to appear at the hearing.

Thank you, Bristol


Dear Bristol:

I was having a really bad few days.  But your trials and tributions on “Dancing With the Stars” made me realize that I take life and politics too seriously. 
I have never seen the show but popular culture has a way of seeping into my protected sanctuary.
And we learned again that good looks and popularity only get you so far.  And not always to the winner’s circle. 
And, Bristol, dear, no one hates you.  We don’t conflate you and your mom.  We hate HER. 
Most teen moms don’t have the resources you have, so they couldn’t be away from their little ones to go on, let’s say, for example, a television contest show.  Maybe, that will be the focus of your energies — bringing opportunities to young mothers. 
Use your fame for good, not for your mother.
Anyway, thanks for the levity. 
~ Blogger