Saturday, December 16, 2006

Strolling down Third Avenue

There was a Youth Group get together at Tali's school last night and she wanted to go. So I managed to rouse myself and drive her into the city. It was two hours of basketball/soccer fun capped off with ice cream sundae making. So with two hours to kill and a veteran at wasting time, I hit the streets.

First stop - Starbucks. Now the Sunday Times staring me in the face was tempting and for a brief moment I went into a daydream mode in which I was sitting for two hours of undisturbed latte sipping and paper reading. Then I thought, you know walking would be better exercise and so latte in hand, I hit the streets. The other thing was that I didn't have my little reading magnifiers and would have spent the whole time looking for big pictures.

But it was in Starbucks that the overhearing of conversations started. When you are alone, you can't help but listen or well, hear what's being said. It started with the poor barista not knowing what hit him when he attempted to fill the highly specialized order of Mr. and Mrs. Truman Snooty. Overheard of their conversation:

Mr. Snooty: "Is that okay now darling?"
Mrs. Snooty: "Well it could be warmer. I'm not going to be a brat". This after two go-rounds with her drink.

They then went on to dish about some annoying contractors or people "in the trade" and "trade discounts" and blah blah blah. The whole time looking down their little upturned noses which is difficult when neither of the Snootys exceeded 5'2" in height but they were real pros at it.

Onto Third Avenue and stroll along hearing snippets of conversation of the passers-by:

"Just got back from Monaco"

"the kid bought her Gucci boots, they're not even best friends"

"the prenup is golden"...

Well such is life on the guilded coast of Manhattan's Upper East Side. Certainly a different set of concerns and outlook on life than little ole me has. Could I be happier to just be me after that stroll?!

Reeling from the pretensions that threatened my ears at every crosswalk, I dropped into Urban Outfitters to begin the waste of time. Lots of cute shirts priced at about $40 bucks. Don't get me wrong that's not expensive per se, but for something that would be a schmatta after one wash, I don't think so. Up another level for some more browsing nonetheless - like to see what "the kids" are wearing. As I make the descent and stop to look at some tee shirts, a couple is having a discussion - the repurcussions of which will haunt the poor sod all weekend:

She: "What do you think of this?"
He: "Nice, listen why don't I just meet you at the Martini Bar"
Slightly annoyed She: "Where?"
Flirtatiously coy He: "You know the one that we just passed. I'll be right there. I want to catch the game" This last part pleadingly.
Annoyed but Resigned: "Okay, bu..." something in her tone said "you'll pay for this"
But he had already planted a kiss on her cheek and was taking the stairs two at a time for the nearest exit.

They'll learn, you're better off not forcing each other into these no-win situations. Kids.

I really could go on and on, the vignettes played out one after the other. I mean even the more common than dirt Bed Bitch and Beyond wasn't safe from the assault of the attitudes of entitlement. But look at that, only moments to spare - two hours gone like that!

I flew back uptown in time for the alotted pickup and found Tali blissfully enjoying her night out. Some of her classmates are from the entitlment that I mentioned. None of the kids seem to care. Tali finished off her sundae and we headed to the car.

Heading over the 59th Street Bridge, I have never been so glad to live in Queens.


Anonymous said...

Morning GQ,

Thanks for bringing back all those fond memories. :) Good thing I have selective hearing. LOL

Hope you had a pleasant weekend with the family.

Anonymous said...

Ah yes...not unlike our strolls down Greenwich Avenue from which we are always happy to go home.

Anonymous said...

Great post, thanks, G.

When I walk 'round the Upper East Side, I like to read the shiny brass plaques on the walls of the buildings, the ones that identify the professional offices that are all lined up in a row along Central Park East.

Things can't be too rosey up there, G, or those 748 psychiatrists would be starving to death.

robkroese said...

How do I get to 3rd Ave from Sacramento? Is this a good time to admit I've never been to New York?

G said...

Brian: Funny thing is I used to live up there, where you become oblivious to the noise around you.

Joel: Oh yes - interchangeable I believe. No place like home.

Al: Very good point and it certainly does go with the territory.

Diesel: Why it's as fine a time as any! Let me know when you're coming in and we'll get you to Third Avenue.

Logophile said...

It's a whole other world, eh?
Well, there is talk of me heading to the east coast this coming year, I may take you up on your offer to Diesel :p

Anonymous said...

i have a doctor (not a shrink, sorry Al) who's office used to be on 85th and 3rd Ave. Sometimes i'd take the train in from CT then walk to her office from Grand Central -- for the sole purpose of listening in on conversations much like the ones you were treated to over the weekend. (and yes, i stroll up Park Ave. then cut over...) good times, indeed.

aside from having the pleasure of seeing all those snoots and/or snobs up close and personal, i loveloveloved watching the "dog walkers" handle groups of pups in need of a potty break. yep, in Upper East Manhattan, if the sh*t ain't flyin' out of someone's mouth, it's coming out of a bunch of Puccis by the curb. gotta love it! xox

G said...

Logo - You better! Any hints on time of year yet? Wouldn't I love it! We even pick bloggers up from the airports if need be!

Keep me posted.

G said...

Nevala, just missed you there!

Hah - good one - Puccis! Love it. I think it's interesting listening to people interact and getting a slice of someone else's take on life. You can always tune out when it gets a bit much right? xox

Anonymous said...

Uh I think I know where Tali's school is. The descriptions were very familiar

Hope you had a wonderful Hannakauh

egan said...

I really think gucci bears are a nice little snack. So tangy and fun to eat.

Doug The Una said...

Well, now you did start with a latté. Surely you can find a little forgiveness in your heart for the pretentious people around you.

Nessa said...

I feel like this when I see a soccor mom driving a big ole Hummer.

G said...

Pia, I am sure you know exactly of where I speak. And you have a wonderful Chanukah too!

Doug, today's latte is yesterday's cup of joe - no longer pretentious. I've been starbucked!

goldennib: Don't get me started on the Hummer driving folks!

G said...

Egan, Missed ya in there! Gucci bears - I think you're on to something with that! Thanks for dropping by.

elvira black said...

G, you captured the Yupper East Side exactly. Starbucks is especially rife with the "privileged" snots who populate the 'hood. I lived there for 12 years, but I was in the easternmost "ghetto" of 1st Ave where the struggling college grads once lived, when it was still affordable and thus less pretentious.

Manhattan is rapidly morphing into an enclave of the "entitled" rich. As for me, I'm moving out--to the Bronx!

Minka said...

I love people-watching and yes I admit...eves-dropping. Some conversations are just too precious too miss. I mean I have to learn how not to do it somewhere :)

Miz BoheMia said...

I tried commenting before but when blogger behaves, my stupid laptop chooses not to and so, ay! I lost it all as I had to do a hard shutdown! Dios mio!

I was saying that I can so relate to the listening in of conversations and man should Loverboy read this post to see that I am not the only one who does that! The hardest part is when the conversation is so idiotic or what is being said is so off the mark because I am dying to let 'em have a piece of my mind!

I once did do that... well, many times actually but this one comes to mind... there were these kids on the bus in SF once, Chinese tweens, calling this and that classmate a "fag" and saying it loud and nonstop... did I mention it was on a bus? In San Francisco of all places?

I finally had it with the homophobic talk, and it didn't take long either, before I went off on a full fledged rant and I am loud and of the type who cares not about making a scene... they go off at the next stop to get away from me and in I walked home, so proud to have let loose and Loverboy let ME have it as he begged me to just shut up the next time as who knows how loony they might be or if they might have had a gun... the poor man is convinced someone will shoot me some day and I am sure that is one of the reasons he doesn't want me listening in on conversations! Oy!

As for shopping? $40 for a tee??? Dios mio! What is the world coming to? I cannot handle paying full price for anything and relish sales... from $400 Guess leather jackets obtained for $60 (brand spankin' new) to 1.65 Ideal and awesome grade and color diamond engagement ring obtained for a quarter of its value with GIA certificate included... that's my kinda shopping! So... are you in? :-)

LOVED your post, my friend, as I love them all! Have a fabulous week!


G said...

Elvira: I think I can safely say that I hate the Upper East Side, except for it providing my child's school and heading west to the museums. I love the Lower East Side and Upper West. But you are right, Manhattan has become one big enclave of entitlement.

Haha, I too lived in the far eastern ghettos of walk-ups on York Avenue (for a couple/three years in the early 90's). Wow, good for you for paving the way.

Minka: That does not surprise me you little devil. We curious Cancerians - mouths shut, minds spinning. Enjoy the people watching. ;)

MizB: THis commenting thing is getting annoying I say!

I'll go shopping with you anyday because you have quite the eye for fab fashions! As to interjecting on conversations, I have been known to speak my mind for instance when a "mom" spanked her child in front of me. Or when someone sniped at me for my child getting caught up almost in her three dog leashes as she talked on her cell and smoked. Suffice it to say I told Doglady where to go.

But listening in is another art, we just have to bite our tongues. So very difficult for the formerly downtrodden of the world. Tell Loverboy, your Karma account must be pretty high.

Take care my dear friend and have a great week yourself!

Dan said...

I love listening (er ... by accident of course) to conversations that are nearby. Sometimes when my wife and I sense that others might be listening we make up stuff like "Are you sure no one saw you getting rid of the body" and other innocuous stuff of that nature.

Anonymous said...

Erick and I have been in deep talks of moving. NYC is an area where Erick has been given a few job offers. I'm deathly afraid of not fitting in .... and I read your post and had to wonder if I could ever truly fit in there. *LOL* They would surely find me to be a freak!

FirstNations said...

you shoulda been with us in our full, fly splattered, dirt encrusted leather and patches glory, eating the biggest breakfast on the a conservative, dried flowers and pastels upper crusty, free bibles by the cash register breakfast nooke in deeply conservative rural washington... oh, honey. you'da had fun listening in. specially when i got tired of waiting for the ladies room and WENT INTO THE MENS. my husband reports that the entire line actually GASPED.

G said...

Danny Boy! Glad to see you out and about. The trick is then to stop short while you're walking and wait for them to slam into you. PS: You and your wife make a good couple.

cj: That's the beauty of New York - not fitting in is almost better than "fitting in". I still don't know what circle me the square peg fits in. So come on, join me!

fn: Now that is a story that warms me to the bottom of my heart!

egan said...

Elvira, don't generalize too much about those Starbucks customers. I'm just saying.

Anonymous said...

This is a Cindra spam. Happy Holidays! And please do go wish mine hubby a happy happy jolly jolly. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

This is a Cindra spam. Happy Holidays! And please do go wish mine hubby a happy happy jolly jolly. Thanks!

G said...

You don't have to tell me twice - off I go! Happy Holidays to you too.

Mo'a said...

I miss The City :(
Will you be coming to your Mother's over Christmas? I am sending you an e-mail with phone #
Talk with you soon :)

G said...

Mo'a, I'll sure keep you posted when I do. Any trips to the city for you? Happy Holidays. xox ~ G

Sweet and Salty said...

Hey G!!! Hope you're having a good time with the family and friends.

Hobbes said...

Mall Diva lusts after all this. Where did I go wrong?

G said...

Pavel - you too amigo!

Weirsdo, I'm suspecting a genetic link in Mall Diva's predisposition or lust for the upper crust. Hey, you could have done worse.