Monday, December 17, 2007

A New York day

I had a day at home which meant two trips to the post office [more anon] and lunch at Ollie's, my favorite neighborhood spot. On the way I passed a few mini forests of Christmas trees like the one in the picture. It does not prove a tree grows in Manhattan but more like "Burnam Wood come to Dunsenaine" - cut trees move in along the sidewalks to make little forests. They smell wonderfully piney -- literally because they have been cut and are dying. I am torn between enjoyment of the scent and pain for the trees that will have their gaudy moments in someone's apartment all decked out, and then go to that great mulcher wherever it is they are taken. This is a seasonal phenomenon and we are deep, deep into it.

At Ollies had had the dubious pleasure of sitting directly within sight of two young others and their offspring. The woman facing me was a double chinned brunet with a son I could not help but watch. The woman with her back to me was blond and had a blond daughter. The little boy first caught my attention attempting with some success to eat noodles with chopsticks. He was 2-1/2 to 3 at most. He was not Asian but he was handling the chopsticks, one in each hand, decently. For a while. Eventually he got tired of the slow-ish progress and picked up a spoon and shoveled amazing amounts of something from a bowl into his mouth - quite greedily. After a bit he devolved to using his hand to scoop up whatever was in the bowl and stuff it into his mouth, smearing his face in the process. The sight became pretty revoluting . Meanwhile the little blond girl had discovered how she preferred to eat long thin Chinese noodles. She took a noodle, stretched it from end to end, using both hands, and then tok a bite out of the middle. Found another full length noodle and repeated the process. She seemed quite tireless in this and the noodles seeemed endless. The whole spectacle diminished my appetite.

In the afternoon, partly knowing better but having the time to spare, I went to the post office with two packages to mail. The line was very long -- at least 15 ahead of me. I had taken a book to read, but as it turned out the woman behind me and then the worman behind her began a conversation on the horrors of this postal substation. It became a long, long conversation with the third women having exprcal NYC stories of people versus the establishment be it P.O. or Transit Authority. But it was an entertaining way to pass half an hour. Her final story was long and involved -- too long for here. It reminded me of a great many times I've had such in-line experiences .. most especially of a long bank line before ATMs when the woman ahead of me whipped out of her purse a large pack of phtographs to prove that she had taught her two cats to use the bathroom toilet. An experience like that one does not forget. But, hey, it's New York.

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