Thursday, May 26, 2016

our smart and wonderful mayor

Dear Mayor De Blasio,

I am so glad you finally listened.

I applaud your efforts to integrate bikes into New York City. It's good for the environment, helps with traffic tie-ups, and a million more good reasons, I'm sure.

But as you know (since I've written before), the bikers (at least the ones in my neighborhood) need to be educated. I am sure if they knew the laws better they would follow them.

You could start by telling bikers they must abide by the same rules as drivers. Ya know. No right turns on red. No speeding through red lights. No creeping up to the last line of the crosswalk and sneaking through the red light. No crisscrossing back and forth on the pedestrian crosswalk waiting for the light to change. And of course no barreling down one way streets in the wrong direction. I'm sure these green-minded people and hard-working delivery guys (they are always guys) just need to be reminded and all will be good.

Today I see four NYC police officers and a NYC police van parked on the corner of 79th and First. When I ask why they are there, I am first told, "It's to hand out tickets to bike riders who break the law."

My prayers answered!

Okay, the police are in full view, so I doubt anyone will break any laws. But then I'm told, "Actually we're not here to hand out tickets. Just to distribute some flyers."

Tickets would be better, but oh well. I'm sure the flyers will really really help. How could any bike rider not be moved by such strong messaging?!



So brilliant , Mr. Mayor. I would never have thought to:

  • Hire a creative agency.
  • Develop such compelling visuals.
  • Add motivating copy sure to get bikers to stop driving recklessly.
  • Print a gazillion copies on heavy stock paper.
  • And have four police officers stand on one street corner to distribute these amazingly wonderful flyers.

Now I'll be able to sleep at night, no longer worrying that someone will be killed by a thoughtless, selfish, I-don't-need-to-follow-the-rules biker. 

Thank you, Mr. Mayor. What a great use of taxpayer's money.

yours sincerely-

a nyc constituent

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

a place in the sun

Every year I say the same thing.  I am going to be careful about the sun.

And every year the same thing happens.  

I forget my self-promise on the first nice, sunny, summer's day that comes along. Just a little color to wash away the pallor of the past 8 months, I think.

Today is that day. 86 degrees and a cloudless sky.  My plan is to sit outside, read today's paper and some of The Nest (which I'm really enjoying), and be back within an hour and a half. 

So I go to my little place in the sun. 

I don't want to travel the few blocks to Central Park, so I settle on an urban park (I guess you can call it that) a block away.

The bench I want to sit on is too hot. So my newspaper becomes my blanket. 

The sand is there, though less plentiful. 

And the soothing sounds of the ocean are replaced by city traffic.

When you live in the city, you don't get something as nice as M's backyard.

 So I settle for what is convenient.

I'm home in 20 minutes.  My dermatologist would be pleased.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

a trip worth taking

 I live in a city with great art museums that I mostly don't go to.

Art museums generally exhaust me. There's always so much to see. Usually the space is large and windowless. There's a lot of meandering to get where you are going. And if I don't have a specific something to see, I get overwhelmed.

But there are exceptions.  A trip to the Norman Rockwell Museum with M and our kids in 2003 was great.  In 1998 I saw the Duane Hanson exhibit at the Whitney which I would easily see again if it ever came back.  The same is true of an exhibit I saw on photos by Robert Mapplethorpe. And Alexander McQueen's extraordinary fashion exhibit at the Met's Costume Institute tops my list.

If I'm going to go to a museum, it'll most likely not be one where paintings dominate.

Today Ellen and I go to The Museum of the City of New York. First, I get my free membership for having a NYC ID. Then, we see the thoroughly entertaining exhibit on the works of Roz Chast, a staff cartoonist for The New Yorker.  

She beautifully captures the absurdities of modern living — particularly in New York City — and the complex relationship between parents and kids and parents and parents.

After the exhibit Ellen and I grab a salad at the museum's little snack bar. Ellen was a producer for many years on NBC's Dateline and just recently got a project working for another television network. I'm happy for her; she'd been looking for a while.

While it may often feel like we're battling everything, it's those little victories along the way that make it all worth it.

Monday, May 23, 2016

nothing much to say

I haven't written in a while simply because I've had little to say. 

I suppose I could have posted about...

  • Learning that someone tried to purchase a Dell computer on my Amex; certainly not anyone who has ever met me as they would know I'm loyal to Apple. And then having to wait a week to get my new card, after being given wrong information by Amex, who compensated me "for my trouble" with a $65 credit.

  • Finding out that after working six long, hard months that I have accumulated a total of 12 paid hours of time off work, but that would be just another retail-doesn't-pay complaint. And I guess it's not worth mentioning that I started work on November 9, 2015  and between that date and February 1 of 2017, I will be granted a total of 25.8 hours of paid time off, or 3.44 days. I wonder what I should do on that .44th of a day off?

  • Meeting up with my friend Zelia whom I haven't seen in ages, but beyond the fact that it was great seeing her, there wasn't much else to write about.

  • Being recognized at Saks by the president of NBC Marketing, with whom I used to work, and being embarrassed to have him now find me selling clothes. 

  • Entering the Hamilton lottery most days this week, knowing the likelihood of winning is close to zero, but still being slightly disappointed when I don't.

  • Seeing a BAFTA screening of Magggie's Plan, a small but entertaining movie, followed by a great Q&A with the director Rebecca Miller and the producer Rachael Horowitz. But how interesting would writing about that be?

  • Waiting in the rain for 19 minutes and then, while still standing on a street corner at Madison and 50th, getting a text from Via, "Hi Lyn, your driver has marked you as boarded in your Via." Their offer for the mix-up? "We will cancel this and you can rebook free of charge." I countered with three free rides. They complied. Still love Via.

  • Being awarded, along with my Vince colleagues, a $500 clothing allowance for a collective good month. But  that would be just another example of the big (and sometimes surprising) discounts we get in retail (in lieu of pay, so it seems).

  • Feeling thin again (125.8) from the residual workout I get from working three days a week, but I think I've already written about that at least a 100 times.

  • Watching the new HBO movie, All the Way starring the amazing Bryan Cranston as LBJ, and then so missing Walter White. 

  • Alexander coming home again this weekend and seeing him for about 20 minutes. But since it was an exact repeat of the weekend prior I thought it wasn't worth posting.

So basically, it's been an ordinary, not-much-happening, little-to-write-about week. Not bad, which is sometimes good enough.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

missing my son when he's home

Alexander moved to Philadelphia on Tuesday, but he's back on Friday for the weekend.

He takes the train to Penn Station and goes directly from there to meet some college friends who are in town. 

At 12:35 a.m. I text him.

T is a friend from college.

I still can't sleep knowing my son is out. Maybe it's unreasonable to expect him to come home by three, but I need to work in the morning. At least when he's not home, I don't know what time he gets in. I wonder if all mothers are like this.

I work on Saturday and call Alexander when I'm leaving to come home. His good college friend Daniel from LA is in town and they are on the way to the movies.

I fall into a restless sleep and am awoken at 3:00 by a loud, persistent banging. After 20 minutes I go downstairs to investigate.

My lobby is empty. My worthless doorman has left a note that he is who-knows-where-doing-who-knows-what and has locked the outer door. Outside banging are my son, Daniel, and two of our neighbors.

Finally, the doorman returns and everyone is let in. No one, understandably, is happy.  "Where were you? We were outside knocking for twenty minutes!" they ask. But the doorman, who strangely has a friend with him, accuses all five of us of lying and says, "I was only gone for five minutes!" Ridiculous.

So I talk to Alexander and Daniel for about ten minutes before falling back to sleep.

A few hours later, around six, Alexander wakes me to say good-bye. I don't think he and Daniel even bothered to sleep.

Not much of a visit but still, I'll take what I can get.

Friday, May 13, 2016

friday the 13th

First, I lose my Metrocard. I later find it but not before paying double what I should for a ride to work.

I get to Saks and check my week-to-date sales. The week begins Sunday and ends on Saturday. I sold $2,647 last Sunday. Not great. At a 6% commission that's just shy of $160. But then I see that over the week, $2,551 is returned, now netting $96 in sales, or $5.76 for last Sunday. Let's see. $5.76 for seven hours work, or 82 cents an hour.

And today is another bad day. Two customers promise to come back and buy the things I help them with; they never do. Other customers have me run around picking out all sorts of things that in the end don't fit, are too expensive, or I don't really think I need them

My day ends at 6. 

At 5:30, I get a customer (I'll call QB for Queen Bee) who is looking for a few things. I run around finding her options. I go back and forth to multiple back stock rooms, multiple times. I move around big awkward ladders. I climb them looking for sizes. Finally, I find the stuff QB is looking for, and come back to discover she's left the dressing room. "Tell Lyn I've gone up to the tenth floor and will be back in 15 minutes," she tells a colleague. It's 6pm; my shift is over. I'm tired and cranky and want to go home. But I stay and wait. 

I wait even though QB was rude to leave while I was off looking for specific sizes she requested.

I wait even though QB leaves the dressing room a total mess, knowing it's me who will have to clean it. Beautiful, expensive clothes just dropped on the floor.

I wait because QB has a leather jacket in the mix of things she might get.

I wait because I don't want to leave for the day, having earned only $36.

At 6:40 QB returns. 

She buys three items, including the leather jacket. But it turns out she's an employee, with that big employee discount.

So I end my 9.5 hour day making $96. 

I'm now up to $101.76 (before taxes) for two days of very hard, very physical, very exhausting work.

Happy Friday the 13th.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

my roommate moves out

Yesterday was Alexander's last day home. Today he leaves for his new home. But he'll be back this weekend.

The other day he calls me at work.  "Hey, bad news. I just found out that my apartment is not furnished."

He's living with four college co-eds (one he knows from Horace Mann) and two guys. 

I try really really hard not to bug him about what he needs to do. Instead, I ask what he wants for his last dinner home.

"Let's go out for burgers."

We go to Five Napkins. I have 2/3 of a gigantic  ahi tuna burger with avocado; Alexander gets the burger and a third of mine. Both are excellent, but the kitchen is ridiculously slow.

I ask Alexander how his packing is coming along. "Good," he responds. I ask where it is, as I haven't seen one suitcase out, or piles of clothes to be put in a suitcase. "It's here," Alexander says, and  points to his head. Planning is good, I agree. But he's leaving tomorrow.

I go to bed around midnight.  "How's the packing coming?" I ask again. I get the same answer. "Good." I see no indication of progress.

I wake up early and see the apartment exactly as it was when I went to sleep. No suitcases or clothes anywhere.

And yet, by 11 am, he's pulled it off.  

Before leaving, Alexander can't help but say,  "Don't you think it's symbolic? The wall comes down on the same day that I break free?"  Of me, he implies without saying. I know he's half kidding.

And so he's off. 

I have mixed feelings. I'm obviously happy for him. And it'll be nice to have my apartment back. But damn, he brings a lot of life into this home. And a lot of laughter into my heart. I will miss him.