Friday, January 13, 2012

Subway Etiquette

One of the first times I took the subway, I ended up in the middle of queens instead of uptown manhattan. Since then, I started paying attention to details. Here's a few rules (my rules, but really, who doesn't like rules?) to a proper underground behavior. If you break them, you might end up finding a snapshot of your rude-self here:

1) if you see that the car is full and the doors are closing, do NOT throw yourself in the middle like a mad man trying to reopen them and get jammed in: besides the risk of losing your limbs, the people inside will hate you and send you seriously bad juju. wouldn't you rather wait 2 extra minutes for the next train than wonder why all of a sudden you have dysentery (known to be the most wished trouble for bad-behaving jerks)

2) for you to get in, other people have to get out FIRST - enough with trying to beat the crowd and jump in before everybody else. are you that anxious to get to work?

3) for couples: loud fighting and beating the sh*t out of each other, does NOT look good. It just doesn't.

4) do not, under ANY circumstance, feel allowed to clip your nails in public: it is GROSS! and if you still think it's ok, well then you are a bad person. end of the story. if your excuse is "i have an important job interview and i forgot to clip my nails", my answer is "you don't deserve that job, so eff you". plus that noise is just eery.

5) ditto for flossing your teeth.

6) nobody gives a crap about what music you like, damn it! play it to yourself - little tip: if the guy next to you looks like he's about to have a seizure, chances are your music is too friggin' loud

7) feel like stretching out while sitting? well, don't' do it by putting your dirty soles on the pole in front of you. unless you are ready to lick it clean after you're done.

8) if you are a tourist, first of all it might be smart not to travel in a group of 20 or more, but if you can't help it:

sit NEXT to each other, not at opposite corners of the car: people don't like to hear you screaming "heeeeeyyyy!!!! is this oooouurrrr stop?! noooo??? whyyyyy??? the maaaap says soooo!"

9) if you're a banker (or anyone else that likes to pretend finance is cool): the reason why they reduced the WSJ's size is to occupy LESS space and still allow you to read it on the trains: not to allow you to spread it open as if you were at the country club

10) if you can't find a seat and have to stand, hold yourself to the poles, that is what they are there for: doing so instead of texting (seriously!? ever heard of "no service underground"?!) might prevent you from losing balance and falling on people's (ok, my) feet - it is quite painful, you know?

11) do not hit on people - you risk rejection (high possibility), hence pity looks from fellow passengers, and you won't have any way of escaping the situation until the next stop (this especially applies to express trains). in case you don't get rejection but acceptance, well, you already know you're gonna go out with someone as psycho as you, so good luck

12) if you're at one of those stations where the cops stand at a table randomly checking people's bags and you are not a criminal:

get rid of the guilty look aka "let me look around with nonchalance so they won't stop me" look - that look WILL get you stopped and your bag checked, TWICE in 6 months (let me add a quick personal WTF to this)

13) if you are a religious psychopath and want to convert the world:

a) speak current english instead of reading straight out of the bible with a southern accent that nobody understands

b) also, telling people they will burn in hell if they don't listen to you is pretty useless - not sure if you noticed the temperature, but we ARE already burning in hell, dear

c) stop it already with the idiotic "are you stressed" tests: who ISN'T stressed in ny?! uh? WHO!? go talk to tom cruise, instead, he will listen and even suggest new stupid questions to bother people with

14) if you want to play music and get money out of it (ok, this is specifically referred to the peruvian flute players at grand central that i used to deal with every day at 9am):

ENOUGH with the Titanic's soundtrack! every day, at the same time, the same people pass in front of you, and you spontaneously decide to torture them with the same effing melody (is it even a melody?!) until they break down in tears and start foaming from their mouths - I want to cry. Get over it, DiCaprio grew up and is now doing action movies, Winslet married, got kids and divorced, even Celine Dion decided to give it up, for Christ's sake! Have some pity and play some samba.

This is it. For now. My next spaz-moment is only few stops away.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Story of a dead mouse

It was Labor Day’s weekend and, after almost begging for the day of vacation I legally deserved, I managed to leave for a 4-days trip to the mountains of New Hampshire, where I could practice my poor climbing skills as much as I wanted, free of the shameful self-awareness I normally have when climbing at the gym (where everybody looks at me as if I was a lost cheerleader that accidentally found herself in the wrongest of the wrong places).

Back to work on the next Tuesday, I noticed a weird smell coming from the back of the office.

Now, I have to step back and describe this office or, better, what I like to call ‘office’, completely ignoring the fact that a phone and a desk are really not sufficient elements to qualify this ‘room’ with such a sophisticated word as ‘office’. The ‘room’ is located below a store, store owned by the same company I work for, right next to what we kindly refer to as our ‘showroom’ (another big word we like to use inappropriately). So, yes, the so called office is in a basement. This should be enough already to make me drop whatever I’m doing and write a effective-as-of-yesterday resignation letter.

The back of the office, the place where the smell was coming from, is a space right behind my desk, next to a door that leads to the general maze-looking building basement. If you open that door (not that you really want to do that unless you’re a masochist), what you see is not a dumpster or a washing machine, or whatever normally sits in a basement: what you would see here is a pinball machine: a pure back-from-the-90’s perfectly functioning pinball machine, that the building super and his toothless loyal assistant like to play for few hours a day, when they need some deserved relief from overwhelming tasks such as in ‘change a light bulb’, ‘call the window cleaners to remind them to clean’, or whatever the hell they do all day, whether it is sleeping or playing cards. I discovered the existence of this machine by accident, after hearing a loud ‘beep’ followed by ‘oh yeah baby!!’ – at first I thought it was the fire alarm going off, but then I doubted anybody in the building would be that happy about it being destroyed by flames (with the exception of me, but obviously I wasn’t the one cheering out loud). I opened the door and there I found the two of them, with sweat pouring down their foreheads, after reaching the ‘Master Level’ of a game called “Dwarfs vs Aliens: the Ultimate Fight’ or something like that. “Hey there!! Waaassuuup! Wanna play?” – that’s how I was greeted, and when they saw the disappointment on my face (not for the machine, but for the lack of flames around), they added “Oh come on! It’s free!”. Oooh! Duh! If it’s free, THEN I will play! – that’s what I felt like replying, but instead I told them I had to take care of some annoying business there – aka work – and backed off.

Back to smelly day – later on I found out that the super himself noticed a pretty strong ‘scent’ coming out of the same spot, but for reason unknown to my mortal brain, he didn’t bother to tell me anything until after I urged him into the office, disgusted and nauseous from my morning discovery (no, I was not pregnant). I guessed he was involved in a very challenging pinball competition with Sir OneTooth at that time and couldn’t afford to get distracted.

So, that Tuesday, when I noticed that smell, I thought it was some leftover ‘gift’ from the previous week toilet flooding, that made everything in the ‘back-office’ float 2 inches from the ground in what at first seemed to be sewage water. A closer look at it confirmed the initial suspect.

On Wednesday I went back to work, against my will, who kept whispering tempting commercial slogans such as “JetBlue end of summer deals! Pack that bathing suit, even if it doesn’t fit you anymore because you eat like a grown-up man, and GO!”. I should have listened to my smart-self, that definitely knows better, or it’d be called stupid-self, no? A step into the room and my nostrils were filled with a mix of acid, rancid and “Oh-God-somebody-has-been-murdered-here-and-I-can-still-smell-the-fear” type of odours.

Since I work alone, I couldn’t count on a slave-assistant to do the job and so I went to check the source of this special, one of a kind scent: and as I peaked my head next to the basement door, I saw it. A pretty small mouse caught in a trap the exterminator placed few days before. In normal circumstances, especially ones with at least one man around me, I would just squeak like a real girl and let him take care of business. But in this case I figured that either I did it, or I’d die out of intoxication. Brave and kind of proud of my own little courage, I put my hand inside a plastic bag (like those polite dog-owners do every morning) and leaned over to pick up the trap with the dead mouse in it. As I lifted though, I felt some sticky resistance and when I eventually pulled it up a ten times stronger smell and a zillion times more revolting image presented to me: larvae. Tons of them. Crawling. No, worse, actually. Crawling on top of each other in the ultimate desperate attempt to grab the last bit of their party damn favor. THEN, I squeaked, dropped the trap and ran to call the exterminator, eventually being able to make an emergency appointment with him, after promising him that my boss would please him and his friends in every dirty little way.

After that I left the room to open the store above, accompanied for the whole day by something sitting right under my nose, something that smelled like the perfume a pirate’s body must have after being resumed from his 200 years under-water vacation. Needless to say, my dreams that night involved skulls, gigantic worms and a creepy toothless mouse playing with Captain Hook at a pinball machine.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Eternal Dilemma of ID Requirements

What a nice day today! That's what I thought while trotting happily (not really) to the Canal St. post office (btw, on Canal St. the temperature is always 10 degrees hotter and the noise is 100 decibel louder) to pick up a very important piece of express mail for my company.

According to my tracking number, a notice has been left in our mail box. Ok, step 1: open mail box. No notice present. Step 2: I have the receipt, so I walk to an agent explaining the issue and asking for my mail to be given to me. First issue: mail nowhere to be found. Fifteen minutes pass and nobody seems to have any idea about this mail, nor seems to care that much either. Ok, breathe.
Search search search and the mail is found in a remote corner of the post office, with a sign on it saying "for the mice noon party, this way!".
I lean over to get the envelope and the clerk starts her series of inquiries: "NAME?". So I tell her the name of the company. "ID PLEASE!" (she didn't really mean that 'please' though'). I give her my passport. And here it starts.
Clerk: "Well, the names don't match"
Me: "Well, YEAH, as you can see, I am not a company"
Clerk: "Are you the owner?"
Me: "No, I'm the manager".
Clerk: "How do I know?"
Me: "I don't know how you know, but I definitely DO know"
Clerk: "I need an ID the proofs that you really are the manager"
Me: "No such ID ever existed, unless you work for Google"
Clerk: "I can't give you the mail, unless you show an ID with your picture and the name of the company"
Guy standing in line next to me: "GIVE THE POOR GIRL A BREAK FOR GODS SAKE!"
Me: "I have a deposit slip from the bank with our company name on it"
Clerk: "Not enough"
Me: "I have my iPhone with emails sent from my email address, that has the company's domain on it!!" (insert very high voice level)
Clerk: "I will talk to a supervisor"
15 more minutes.
Clerk: "We will redeliver to the same PO BOX"
Me: "And what? Should I go get a fake ID with my smile on it and my company's name??"
Clerk: "Miss, go to the Supervisor Window"
I go and the same clerk shows up: I guess at the post office the window you work from determines how high in the hierarchy you are.
Me: "I have the PO BOX KEYS!! How do you think I could get the other mail?"
Clerk: "mmm"
10 more minutes.
Me: "I seriously don't have the time to work as a professional criminal specialized in stealing random mail"
Clerk: "Miss, I will meet you in the hall. I want to see you opening the PO BOX"
My brain refuses to reply to this insanity. I march to the po box, hold the keys so she can see them (and what if I killed the manager of a company and actually STOLE the keys?!) and slowly turn the key into the po box. Magic! It opens.
Clerk: "Alright then. I guess I can give it to you"
Next time I need something delivered quickly, I'll use that pigeon that pooped on my head about a month ago. He owes me big time anyway.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

How ny real estate scene has never been affected by this stupid recession

Being in the sudden and unexpected (and awful) situation of having to find an apartment to live in less than a week, I started again where everybody starts from: craigslist.
And here is one of the 'precious' STEALS (as they call them) that I just found:

This gives the perfect good idea of how way too many people are way too desperate to live in this city that is really starting to get on my broken nerves.
First, they call it LARGE studio - now, does the person that wrote this posting consider measurements in Lilliputians standards?! If THAT is big, then I can start playing basketball in the NBA.
Second, it's priced CHEAP because the bathtub is in the kitchen?! What kitchen?! and what CHEAP?! $1,250 for a room the size of my brain is not damn cheap. And seriously, ENOUGH with this bs of putting showers and bathtubs in the kitchen - I dare the owner of this place to show me how he enjoys his bath in the kitchen while his guest (if he fits) waits for dinner to be ready in this spacious living room. F*ck it.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Say Hello and Wave GoodBye (to my Dear Pen)

My favourite pen's life is coming to an end.

I realized it this morning: not at all ready to face another day of work, I picked it up with the same joy toddlers show when they destroy crayons, only to find, few seconds later, its poor fragile body torn in at least 8 different pieces (5 of which I didn't even suspect existed), all of them laying like autumn leaves on my homicide hands.
Not having a paper bag to help me prevent hyperventilation, I had to be strong and tried to reconstruct the tiny little body as well as I could. The pen reacted with an unpredictable shot of life, spreading its springs towards me and spinning its cap, but eventually gave up and I was able to restore its original settings. But that was just an illusion. We all know that the pen will not be the same from now on, and every time that I need to scribble a note, I do it with the same cautious anxiety I have when I find myself driving 80 miles away from home with only 1/10 of the gas tank left in the car, and no fuel station to bee seen around (it actually happened to me twice that I had to be rescued in the middle of the highway, and if that is not humiliating enough, your mother calling you 'an idiot' in front of the neighbors will do it).

The importance of a good pen is often underestimated. My handwriting definitely has a tangible shift whenever I write with a pen that I love: if an handwriting psychologist were to analyze my personality based on something I wrote with my dear soon-to-be-gone pen, it would come out that I am a successful, accomplished, loved by everyone (like Raymond) 29 years old funny girl; on the contrary, let him analyze what I wrote with that ink-dripping, coarse Bic I found the other day, and he will probably think he has the privilege of reading an old secret manuscript from Jack the Ripper, although he would not be able to explain why Mr. Jack is so much into shoes.

The content of my writing also changes, based on the pen: a nice pen will produce company strategies (ok, not really, but it will at least pretend), marketing ideas, the lyrics for the next U2 album, a perfectly done reproduction of my subway-neighbor's nose, and other important things like that. A bad pen will barely make it to write 'pff, you're not even my real mother!' as a reply to my boss' note that tells me to call a magazine for a photo shoot.

All this to say what? That I will be very sad when my pen will leave me for good, and that I should stay away from any piece of paper until somebody will be kind enough to save me and give me a nice replacement - Mont Blanc's highly appreciated, by the way.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

What the Hell

Wednesday, August 5th, 8:15 pm. Long day of work, long day indeed. After today's mess, the least you would hope for is to be, in this life or another, rewarded, someday, somehow.
As I make my way through the crowd on the subway platform, I see the 6 train instantaneously approaching. It rarely happens. 'See?' I tell myself, 'the reward (as little as it can be, although not on NY standards) was not that far after all!'. OR I thought that it was a reward...
Still not being able to deal with the fact that the 6 train will be MY train now (everything UES-bound makes me itchy), I rush to sit down and try to focus on the book I'm currently reading.
As the train approaches Astor Place - an area that for some reason I believe has a lot to do with the city's ghost population, or maybe it's just a spooky name - I hear a voice. And no, not one of those voices I'm usually the only one to hear. It grows louder and louder, to the point that I just can't really pretend anymore to be fully involved with my book. "The Good Jesus has died for YOUR sins! You must fear God!!! If you don't obey to the Sweet Lord's law, you will ROAST in HELL!". Wait-a-second! ROAST?!?! I had no clue that Hell was actually located inside BBQ Dallas' basement kitchen! Then what do we have all this Google Earth crap for if it can't even point out secret stuff like this?! Who cares about China secret nuclear stations anyway!?
I have the feeling that refusing to take one of the 50+lbs pamphlets that the voice's owner is trying to distribute would fall into the "not obedient to the Lord's law" category, therefore I shall get ready to ROAST in Hell as amusingly predicted.
And according to the voice (I'm having a pretty hard time here finding a different name for it, since this dude is all covered in facial hair or beard, and the letters on his "FEAR GOD" t-shirt are way too big to keep you focused on his face anyway), that must be happening pretty soon, too, given that he is hurrying us up to be sorry for our sins and save our poor miserable souls.
Regardless, after a day like the one that just went by, I think I'll just go ahead and buy myself some nice expensive Worcestershire sauce. If I have to roast, I'd better taste pretty damn good!