Monday, March 31, 2008

"I'm cranky."

Maybe it was the fact that it was Monday or that there was a steady drizzle, but New York was in a collective bad mood this morning. When I got on the Q train to get to work, I spied numerous open seats and I chose one next to an old man holding a cane, a seat that was preferable to the others because it had aisle access. Mistake No. 1. As soon as I tried to sit down, the old man raised his free hand and pushed -- PUSHED! -- me away from the open seat with a vigorous shake of his head. Shocked, I merely went towards the other open seats, which I discovered were covered in subway schmutz. Mistake No. 2.

Figuring that I just wasn't meant to sit down during my commute, I settled to a position near a pole and made eye contact with a woman who had witnessed my encounter with the nasty old man. She shook her head and gave me that, "Can you believe that fucking guy??" look of sympathy. Except I think she was Russian, but rudeness obviously crosses the language barrier.

When I got the coffee shop by my office for some toast, the man next to me in line berated one of the workers behind the counter calling him a stupid idiot. Sigh. I put a dollar in the tip jar to offset everyone's surliness when it came time to pay.

Later when I ventured out for lunch, I went down to Trader Joe's to pick up some groceries for dinner tonight. Maybe my young checkout lady sensed the weight of the inauspicious day on my damp shoulders, but she cheerfully (genuinely, yes) asked how I was and how my weekend was.

"Fine," I replied and began to help her take my items out of the shopping basket.

"Oh no, you don't have to do that. Take a break!" she said as she reached for the item that I was about to take out myself. "It looks like this is one of the few moments you've gotten to take a break today."

"Yeah, I try to come here during lunch as the after work crowd is a nightmare."

"I sensed a work time shopping trip," she said buoyantly as she rung up my items. Was she flirting with me?

"Indeed. Grocery shopping is never ending. It's such a sisyphean task."

She laughed loudly over the din of shoppers. "You should know that you're the first person today to use the word sisyphean at this check out!"

"Do I win a gold star?"

"You do win my admiration. It's just a word you don't hear," she replied as she pulled over a nearby coworker and alerted him to my adept use adjectives. The news was met with a smile and I felt the nastiness of my morning melting away. "People should use the word sisyphean more often," she added.

"Thanks for making my afternoon," I answered, my mood improving. "This makes a nice contrast to getting pushed out of a subway seat by an old man."



She handed me my shopping bag. "Well I hope your day gets better!"

"Yeah except now it's back to my sisyphean job," I said and shuffled out into the rain.


Anonymous said...

Wow, I can't believe the guy actually PUSHED you... What a crazy city, NY is! Maybe you should move down here, to LA? It's so much more relaxed and the buses are always empty with plenty of seats available!


Anonymous said...

Oh, and no matter what, your blog is still the best!

Natazzz said...

People suck. I think they are supposed to suck, so we can appreciate the few nice and decent friendly peeps out there...

caroline said...


Just wanted to say that I have only been reading for about a month. I enjoy your blog quite a bit. The parts about you and Miss K are especially sweet to me - Ive just moved into a home with a woman whom i was having a long distance relationship with for the past 6 months. It was difficult, but being with her now makes all that time melt away..The descriptions of life with K are beautiful glimpses.