January 30, 2017 by 61 Comments
It’s the Quiet Car. Quiet. There is no prohibition for dining in a Quiet Car. Or in any car for that matter.
You may be Pro-Life or Pro-Choice. You may be Vegetarian. You may believe in Global Warming. You may be a member of the NRA or for Gun Control. You may be for or anti Keystone Pipeline or fracking. Voucher or Public School. Whatever. As long as you aren’t in my face with your POV, I’m good. With one exception: Dining on public transportation. Don’t like it. Don’t do it. Find it deplorable.
6:35 p.m. Metro North departing from Grand Central Station to parts North.
It’s a six-seater, with four persons. Three people is manageable. Four is crowded. As the fourth piles in, the other three, me included, grumble. The commuter code is broken.
I’m knee to knee with a student, who has cracked open a pre-packaged salad, its perfume, sesame ginger dressing, spills into the cabin. She spreads out her napkins and proceeds to dive in with her plastic fork. Mixed mesclun greens. Julienne sliced red bell pepper. Water chestnuts. Baby Corn. All coated and shimmering in dressing. She catches me sliding my knees into the aisle. One Human feels discomfort in another Human. She wraps the dish in the plastic bag offering additional spillage protection and looks up. I grin. A sort-of thank you cheetah-like grin. Just one drop on me and there will be an explosion in this train car. She gingerly spears her greens and uses the plastic bag as a splash guard. Graying Mustachio Man looks unpredictable, eyes have that crazed look, best not to test him. [Read more…]
December 6, 2016 by 31 Comments
Excerpts from wsj.com: Six luminaries to weigh in on a single topic. This month: Manners:
“When you speak to people of my generation, you’ll find that our parents didn’t talk to us about things; they just told us what to do. From morning until night, you were issued instructions. Seventy-five percent of those instructions had to do with manners—don’t reach in front of another person, elbows off the table. As a result, you had a certain way of seeing the world. I went to the Nobel Prize ceremony with Toni Morrison the year she won. I got up at one point during the dinner to talk with the wife of an editor at Knopf. But when I got to her, she practically shoved me to the ground and said, ‘Don’t you know you can’t stand up when the king is sitting down?’ Well, no, I didn’t know that. How would I know that? Of all the things my mother told me, that is one thing she missed. But other than that I pretty much know everything!”
— Fran Lebowitz is a writer and social commentator.
“When I was a child, my parents used to take me out to a restaurant once a week, even though they didn’t necessarily have the means. Restaurants are a wonderful space for a child to learn the value of good behavior because, in dining, the rules of etiquette are built on respect….
— Charles Masson is a restaurateur. His latest project, Majorelle, opens in December at the Lowell Hotel in New York City.
“My husband and I have four sons and two grown grandchildren. Good manners were as important to their education as their schooling. When our grandchildren came to our house, their parents would say, ‘Mind your Mimi’s manners!’ It’s all about treating people with courtesy and kindness. […] If ever I’m asked an ill-mannered question, I just say, ‘I’ll forgive you for asking me that question if you’ll forgive me for not answering it…’
—Lynn Wyatt is a philanthropist and socialite.
Image: kate spade new york
November 27, 2016 by 55 Comments
The moment, seconds really, should have degraded into an inkblot, edges fraying, burrowing to lose itself among the billions of other moments, stored for retrieval at a later date when a similar moment showed up. Aha, I remember that.
This one Rises, floats on Top, bobbing up and down, making sure it isn’t lost. Remember this, it seems to say. Don’t forget this, it needs to say.
I’m walking Cross-Town on 47th. It’s dark. It’s early, 6:23 am. And, it’s Cold – sub 35° F, with winds gusting. Feels like 26° F. Biting.
I’m wearing a trench coat, knee length, its heavy lining leaning in on my shoulders. It’s zipped to the throat.
The fur lined leather gloves keep the hands and fingers toasty. I grip my case with one, and swing the other, the motion pulling me forward, the pace quick, the blood and bones warming from the movement.
And there he was.
Alone. [Read more…]
November 12, 2016 by 42 Comments
It’s late afternoon Thursday. We’re walking up 47th street dodging the lingering jewelers, puffing on their Marlboros, blowing smoke rings, their arms out with pamphlets: “We buy Gold Sir, top price.” If I had gold, I wouldn’t be traipsing up 47th street rushing to catch a commuter train. Step back.
My colleague is in front. I’m trailing. He’s a New Yorker to the core, from birth, wily and confident. And you, you Friend, are country, and you can’t take Country out of the Boy.
I catch him and finish sharing a moment:
“I just can’t let it go. I’ve been carrying this with me for two days.”
He pauses: “Are you nuts? Don’t give it another thought. This is New York. Anything could have happened.”
He veers right.
“You’re right. See you tomorrow.” I push on to Grand Central.
Anything could have happened.
It was Tuesday morning, early.
I exit Grand Central. It was brisk, and dark. I wait for the light to turn, and I cross Madison. There’s plenty of time before my morning meeting, no need to push it. Music is streaming in. I’m lip synching James Taylor’s Country Road : “But I could feel it Lord, on a Country Road, Walk on Down…But you know I could feel it child, yeah – Walking on a country road, I guess I know where my feet want me to go.”
I hit repeat, and James sweeps me away again. Lightly Child, Lightly. And on this morning, I’m right there in that sweet groove with Ahab, “he never thinks, he just feels, feels, feels.” And on this morning, here I am, a tall sunflower leaning into the Sun. Sweet Jesus, why can’t I find this place more often.
I pass into a dim section of the street.
He appears directly in front of me from Nowhere.
Unshaven. 5’9″. Tattered corduroys, dark windbreaker. And in my space. I step back, and lift my hand up signaling back, my torso trembling. I re-grip my case. I pull the ear buds out. And Brace.
He points to his ears and emits a muffled: “I’m deaf. I need help.” [Read more…]
October 11, 2016 by 64 Comments
2nd morning train: Metro North to Grand Central.
Dark Sky reports: Clear, 45° F and Rising.
Train rolls into Grand Central 2 minutes late, red ants swarm, clamoring and jostling to get to the exits.
The pace accelerates, foot traffic is flowing. I bear down on a doodler staring down at her smartphone, and need to slow, way down.
There’s heavy foot traffic on all sides, I veer right to pass, glare at her, but it misses wide as Ms. Oblivious’ is clueless as to the traffic backup.
As I straighten up, I ram into a Suit, who teeters, wobbles and regains his footing.
April 25, 2016 by 22 Comments
If you are having trouble viewing the youtube video, try this link: CBS Sunday Morning: Approval Junkies Always Looking for Validation
June 2, 2015 by 16 Comments
“Avoid gratuitous negativity.”
Critical thinking is good; shallow cynicism, on the other hand, adds nothing of value to the community. It is unpleasant to read and detracts from actual work. If you have something important but negative to say, that’s fine, but say it in a respectful way. Negativity isn’t the problem–gratuitous negativity is. By that we mean negativity that adds nothing of substance to a comment. This includes all forms of meanness.
~ Sam Altman, New Hacker News Guideline @ Y Combinator Posthaven
April 24, 2015 by 10 Comments
Xinhua, wsj.com photos of the day.
April 10, 2015 by 7 Comments
MH: If you look at yourself now—a man nearing 50—what would you have said to the young Steve Coogan?
SC: It’s a very good question. Well, I would have… [long pause] aimed higher. I don’t just mean that in a career sense, I mean be better, strive to be better in all things, and work harder, because you’ll find it rewarding. I’d say, Be comfortable with who you are as well, just listen to yourself more. I suppose when I was younger, I wanted to get on and have a career and be successful. And try to be all things to all men. I don’t do that anymore. Now I want to do things I believe in, and have a sort of honesty, in work and in life. When I was younger, I didn’t really want to say anything contentious, because I thought it might alienate people who liked my work.
MH: Is there anything you sacrificed to be in your position that you regret?
SC: In my quest for authenticity and sincerity, I can be a bit annoying. In my quest to try to bring some love into things, I can be a bit acerbic and nasty. I love that quote that Aldous Huxley said at the end of his life: Through all his writing and everything, all he’d learned at the end of his life was that people should just be a bit nicer to each other. I love the simplicity of that. And I do well to remember it. Sometimes I need to just be nice to people. I have been quite driven over the years. But right now I’m happy, happier, ish, than I’ve been before. I’m fortunate in that I can make choices, and I think I try to make the right ones. And I don’t do anything I don’t believe in. And that’ a real luxury.
Don’t miss full interview here: Comedian Steve Coogan is Happyish