Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Seat's Taken.

Today on the crowded morning train I happened to overhear a girl tell her friend that she spilled Pepsi all over the seat next to her. This is something I've been fearing for awhile.  

In most other cities this soda seat wouldn't have been a problem. Plastic seats make spills and goo completely visible--it's the very least public transportation can do for its riders.  But in Boston, the T seats are covered in this hideous fabric that could basically hide anything.  Every time I sit down, I'm sure I'm about to have wet pants. 

When the girl and her friend got off the train a few stops after I'd learned the news about the soaking wet seat, I took it as my personal responsibility to inform every new passenger on my train car about it. I stood by the train doors and kept repeating, "Don't sit there, it's wet." "Don't sit there, it's wet." "That seat's wet, don't sit there." "That's a wet seat, don't sit in it." as I pointed to the accident seat and started to feel good about my random act of kindness.

The doors closed and I thought to myself, hey, nice work, J. You just saved a person's morning from being ruined!

But as the train rolled on it occurred to me that everyone I just talked to was probably thinking to themselves, How does she know? 

Then I started to get paranoid thinking about what they might be thinking. I debated making a general announcement, something along the lines of, "Hi everybody. I didn't pee on that seat. If that's what you were thinking, you're wrong."  

But I didn't.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Goal Setting.

I heard a story the other night about a person named... wait for it... Pooty McBurger.

Say it out loud please.

Pooty McBurger. That's the man's name. Pooty. McBurger.

The storyteller swears that the name is true. Apparently his parents were from Nigeria and wanted the most American name possible. Hence, Pooty. Obviously. 

I share this only because since hearing the name, it's been impossible for me to say "Pooty McBurger" with a straight face. To be honest, I can't even think about it without smiling. I've decided that when I can casually mention Pooty McBurger in conversation without my eyes watering, I'll be a grown up. It'd be nice to reach that marker by the end of the year. 

I'll keep you posted.  

Thursday, September 24, 2009

So Why Not Just Say That?

Saw an ad for a place called The Garment District that read as follows:

The Garment District.
It's Not A District. It's a store.

I want to meet the person who wrote that slogan and flick them on the forehead.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Something With A View.

Lately I've been seeing a lot of kids sitting in strollers that look like this:

It looks fine when there are no babies in it, but when you actually see it with passengers, it's quite obvious one of the children is getting a raw deal. While the baby up top has access to street views, interaction with people, enough room to kick if so inclined, the bottom baby is simply staring at the mesh padding of the seat in front of it. I even saw one mother toss her purse in with the bottom baby. That's not storage, ma'am.  You have a baby in there. Years from now, studies will show that the child sitting in the bottom seat is someone who prefers to stare at walls.

But things could be worse.  The other day in the park I noticed a child too scared to approach a group of dogs that were playing together. The boy took a few steps in the direction of the dogs, and then ran back to his mother.  This continued until finally, the mother picked him up, put him into her granny cart, and wheeled him into the circle of dogs. This is a granny cart if unfamiliar:
    It was like a shark tank cage for a puppy play date.  The little kid stuck his fingers out of the cart to pet some of the dogs, and when he started to get scared again, the mother would wheel him out backwards.  

As I watched this, I felt like I was witnessing the reason why therapy exists. 

Sadly, this was not the first time I've seen a granny cart used as a stroller.  One time in Queens Brina pointed out a woman pushing her two kids down the street in a granny cart. The kids were standing upright and secured in the cart with what appeared to be some sort of luggage strap. Obviously there were some safety issues there, but at least both kids had the same view.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

"But Where Does The Meat Go?"

Found this job posting on Craigslist:

"Line Cook- Raw Vegan Cafe."

According to the ad, the position requires at least two years of kitchen experience.

Right. Two years kitchen experience for a raw food cook. Raw food. Cook. And do you think it's actual kitchen experience, or two years experience in a raw food kitchen? And what does a raw food kitchen even look like? It's just a knife and a salad spinner, right?

Anyway, I thought the title of line cook was funny. Aren't vegan raw food cooks usually called vegetable trays?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Heart of Stone.

I'm used to hearing and seeing the worst performers ever on public transportation.  There was a woman in NY who played a Fisher-Price piano type thing that she could also blow into, so you can imagine how well that went.  The music was never the main part of her act though.  It was the fact that she stood with one leg on the train floor, one leg leaning up against a pole, and 2 hands on the piano horn.  At every stop she would struggle to keep from flying to the ground. 
It was actually pretty sad.

That's why last night's train ride home was such a pleasant surprise.  When I entered the station I was welcomed by what can only be described as the best Doo-Wop group I've ever heard. I'm a sucker for a good Doo-Wop group.  And when they broke out into a crazy rendition of The Tymes' So Much In Love I thought to myself, "Take note, piano horn lady." 

When the train rolled up I was disappointed that I'd have to leave the music, but awesomely, all of the guys got on my train car. So for my entire ride home, non-stop insanely good Doo-Wop. I once had a Mariachi Band ride on my train car from Queensboro to Shea, but after about 4 subway stops of Mariachi, you tend to get the gist.  

During a cover of We Are The World--the Doo-Wop cover, not the Mariachi--the entire train car started clapping in unison. People were swaying back and forth, singing along, smiling. It was a total goose bump moment without even the slightest hint of cheesiness. I was looking around the train car, amazed by how quickly a group of strangers can connect, when I saw a girl sitting across from me, hunched over a huge text book, basically frowning, using her hands to cover her ears in such an exaggerated fashion it looked like she was holding a basketball instead of her head.  It killed me. What kind of igneous rock does your heart have to be made of to get so mad during free train ride Doo-Wop?

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Frankly, I wouldn't want to work for a company that refused to accept this link in lieu of my resume. 

Monday, September 07, 2009

That Reminds Me.

My father interrupted Nessa mid-sentence yesterday by saying, "OH! That reminds me!"

I don't actually remember what she was talking about, but I know for a fact it was nothing that could have possibly reminded him of the story he told. 

Dad: So I was driving one of the old Oliver tractors back to the farm last week and a bee flew right against my teeth and the impact killed it. A bee! Right into my teeth! It died! Can you believe it?    

We all stared at each other in silence for about 30 seconds.

Me: Dad, you just interrupted Nessa to tell a story about killing a bee with your teeth.  
Dad: Oh, sorry. I just thought about it.
Ness: I don't get it. Your teeth were exposed while you were driving a tractor down the road?
Exposing all her teeth into a freakishly giant smile she added, "Who drives like that?" 

My dad started smiling thinking about it and he goes, "You know, out there with nature. It's nice."

I don't want to know how my father's mind works, but I've really learned to appreciate it. 

Friday, September 04, 2009

Good Read.

Sorting through a box of old stuff, I found a collection of short stories my little sister wrote in elementary school.  While movies are usually remembered for their last line, they say that the most memorable line in a book is the opening. In the case of Vanessa's work, I'd have to say that's true.

Here are how three of her different short stories started:

"Vanessa, Caitlin, TiTi, Brynne, and Yonghee were all going to Florida together."
-From The Search

"One day Caitlin, Brynne, Yonghee, TiTi, and Vanessa were on the school playground talking."
From The Christmas I'd Never Forget

And my personal favorite, 
"'I can't wait until we go to India.' announced TiTi. Vanessa and Caitlin were busy packing while Yonghee and Brynne were playing Sega."
From Our Dangerous Adventure

Talk about setting the scene! 

I also found a very long piece written by Sabrina entitled, Fight Once, Fight Again. 
I didn't read the entire thing but I'm guessing it was not about conflict resolution.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009


I've been a lifelong sufferer of Treppenwitz, or "L'esprit de l'escalier" (staircase wit). The phrase comes from walking down a staircase to leave a place and suddenly thinking of the perfect thing to say. "Yeah? Well the jerk store called..." That sort of thing. 

I'm always thinking of the perfect thing to say days after the opportunity to use it has passed. But there's no chic-sounding french phrase that roughly translates to, "A week after missing a great chance to say something witty, you come up with a clever retort while watching House Hunters, slightly drunk, in your pajamas."

Anyway, when I asked a salesman the price of something the other day, instead of just telling me, he said, "I can be flexible on the price. What are you looking to spend?"

Note: I hate haggling. I'm terrible at it, I don't enjoy it on any level, and i would prefer things to simply have a set price. 

"Um, well how much does it cost? Then I'll see if that's what I want to spend."

So he goes, "This is the price I can do." And he slid the number over to me.

It was a scene straight out of a bad TV show where negotiations are made by writing down a figure and passing it back and forth to each other to work out a price. Only, I didn't want to do this. And, instead of like in those TV shows where the numbers are written down on paper, folded in half and passed across the table, this number exchange happened on, wait for it, a calculator.  

A calculator! Who has ever heard of a calculator haggle?! There was no one around us, there was no reason to be secretive, and it was totally pointless to not just say the number. Did he expect me to type a number back to him? Fighting an eye-roll with every bit of my being, I thanked him and started to walk away.

"Wait, what number were you thinking?" (This guy would make a terrible magician.) 

I was tempted to play along because I thought it might be fun to say something like, "I'm thinking of something closer to... this." But I wasn't sure how calculator haggling worked so I just said, "It's OK, thanks anyway."

But of course, today, in true staircase fashion, I thought of how funny it would have been to take the calculator, squint like I was thinking of a fair price, clear his number away, and type BOOB, before passing it back to him.  It was probably the only real opportunity I will ever have to type BOOB on a calculator and I missed it. Sorry, third grade version of me. I let you down.