Unique New York

Just like a regular woman, only crankier.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

May you have an easy fast

There are 2 words that I hear uttered more endearingly than "fabulous". Those words are "reverse commute." A reverse commute is when you commute away from Manhattan to work, and vice versa for the ride home. It's supposed to reduce the headache of the regular commute to Manhattan. When I moved to south Brooklyn, I was told there would be a "reverse commute". I was the envy of my friends in Brooklyn who commute to Manhattan, and the envy of my Long Island friends who wish to hell they had moved to a better place than Long Island. I'm not dissing Long Island for what it is, but urban it ain't. If you want grit and street cred, move to my hood.

Now, so far, the "reverse commute" has been a big fucking lie. Everyday, I sit with all the other out-of-towners who bought that lie on the Long Island Expressway, kissing the ass of the bumper in front of me, and trying to cope with the cab drivers from SomeplaceSmall, India, who either ignore or are unaware of the concept of a LANE. My commute is an hour and fifteen on good days, and 2+ hours if I didn't sacrifice a goat to the god of the Belt Parkway the night before.

Today was a good day. Know why? Because it is a holy day. Actually, it's the day before a holy day. It's Yom Kippur! And while the Jewish population has to atone during this time, they choose to commence the holiday early! It took me an hour and a half to get home! It took me an hour and fifteen to get to school!

This brings me to my proposal: Fake Jewish holidays. Everyone wins; Jews get time off (paid) to spend at home with their families, and while I still have to haul my ass to work, I am in a much better mood. I know my roommate will love this idea (also Jewish).

When I was in college, I had to take a class called "multicultural forum" which meant we learned about 1st generation Mexican-Americans. This was due in large part to my professor being sixth generation Mexican-American. While I do not doubt that he had a harder time struggling to acclimate within the Texas culture, I do not think it is fair to run a class that is called "multicultural forum" when the only awareness you raise is toward the Mexican-American culture.

We had an assignment to do community service at a facility that serviced a multi-ethnic population. Most of our classmates worked for underserved Mexican-American non-profit orgs. In passive-aggressive rebellion, my friend and I volunteered for the only conservative synagogue in Central Texas.

While this experience may be nothing at all to New Yorkers, let me remind everyone that I am from Oklahoma. I know like 6 Jews, and they are all doctors and not from there. In Waco, there were roughly ten families that went to this conservative synagogue. Most of them were aging, but it was a great experience being so welcomed into their culture as an observer and as a volunteer. I learned a great deal from the tiny congregation.

To add insult to injury of choosing to not work with Mexican-Americans (who are as common to that area of Texas as white people and African-Americans, mind you, and Socio-Economic Status isn't a consideration for the underserved there, because everyone is poor), we decided to fabricate a holiday and include it in our final papers that we handed in for multicultural forum. The holiday invented was Pa-Yahmus. Say it out loud. It's a lot like pajamas. Therefore, our made-up holiday was for the annual blessing of the bedclothes. We happened to volunteer during the holidays of Passover (Pesach), Purim, and Pa-Yahmus. Two of those holidays actually happened.

Worse, when we turned the papers in, he didn't bat an eye. Thought we were telling the God's honest truth. That man couldn't be less aware of the plight of the Texan Jew any more than I am aware of the pitfalls of a Kentucky Bushman.

As such, I would like to present to the Jewish people Pa-Yahmus. It's like Passover for bedding. You get rid of your old ones, and buy all new for the 4 day holiday, which must always fall on the 3rd Wednesday of the month of Cheshvan (there's no feasts or holidays during that month anyway), and being a Jewish holiday, it begins from sundown on Wednesday to Sundown on Thursday. You can't commute Fridays anyway because you might get stuck in traffic past sundown on Shabbat. Think of it as a 5 day holiday, and one of those days you get to spend all day at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. It's that kind of fabulous.

If reforming the Jewish faith for my commuting needs sounds too extreme, I'm willing to give a paid holiday to any other geographic or ethnic group. Grenada's Independence Day! Iceland Loves Bjork Day! The Japanese Live in Really Small Houses Day!

Or I could move closer. But I would miss all the grit. And I would never know when to buy new sheets.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Don't look at me

It's totally silly to get all worked up over this, but I have received most of my textbooks in the mail today. I used the internet to buy books for the very first time, and I saved a ton of money. I'm probably a dork for being so paranoid, but it's very nerve racking when you send your money out into space for the first time. It's not like I have never used the internet to shop before; I simply have never used independent sellers. It's a very different affair-you are buying used books that you have never seen before. What if the previous owner was a "Ben Folds Five" fan and you get the only book in existence with that sticker on it?

The internet is great for the shy-shopper. I hate going to campus bookstores. It's not so much the horror of someone asking you if they can help you find something (I always think that if I can't find a psychology book in the section with the big ol' sign that says psychology, then maybe I should rethink spending this much money on education), it's more the problem of dodging a zillion kids for the same crappy used book. I hate that, and I also hate the wait in line. You're standing there holding onto the manuals while your arms threaten to separate from your ever-loving body, and there's someone about 20 people a head of you who can't decide which credit card to put this purchase on. I don't have that kind of patience.

Speaking of being shy, if you live in New York, and have access to the internet, you may go days at a time without ever speaking to anyone. When I lived in Texas, if you made eye contact with someone too long just in passing, they would say "Hi", or "How're you?" In New York, it's like a contest to see how much you can avoid looking at other people. As a newcomer here, I share this apprehension with New Yorkers. When walking my dog, I don't want to get the attention of the crazy guy by looking at him. Crazy people think it's okay to initiate a conversation with you, because hey, you were looking at 'em. The large majority of people don't make eye contact with you either, because they don't know if you're the crazy one.

Maybe it makes me a little crazy, but I kind of like that kind of power. Once, I'm going to walk my dog, and I will pass someone, and instead of the usual dance of the eye diversion, I'm going to break out in a bold "Boogedy-Boogedy-Boo!" I'm sure I'll be fine once the pepper spray wears off.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Advertising Space for Sale...in my head

I have bitched about this before, but here goes. Skippy's Peanut Butter Bar commercial needs to choose a damn theme. Either it's reggae, CGI, or elephants, but we simply cannot have all three. When did elephants get into reggae? Apparently, these elephants grow their dreads long, put them up in meshy hats, and eat peanut butter, which is all irie, but did the advertising people just give up on this making any sense? I can see the correlation with the peanut-elephant thing, but elephants listening to dance hall, well, that's just silliness.

Worst of all, I think the song is great.

Second, the Kellogg's low carb cereal commercial. It says, "it has 9 net carbs that taste better than 9 net carbs have any right to!" When did carbs get rights? I really ought to watch myself; I might have infringed upon the civil liberties of a carbohydrate unknowingly, and I certainly don't want any conflict between myself and the carb watchdog groups, the carb-friendly media, or the carb lobbyists.

I'm on personification patrol; Kellogg's better watch out!

Incidently, the low carb cereal from Kellogg's contains high-fructose corn syrup. It's supposed to counter act that with high fiber, thus the "9 net carbs". Yeah, high-fructose corn syrup will not make you fat if you just eat it with a lot of fiber. If you believe that, then I have a rasta elephant for sale. Please, he needs a good home.

I am not much of a scrapper, but these advertising groups and I are going to throw down. I'm taking them on, and then it's me versus high-fructose corn syrup. I'm assuming Bill Maher will join my ranks. Yep, just me and Bill Maher. And my friends, the rasta elephants. Respect.