This morning I sold my tv and digital converter to a nice young married couple named Manny and Melissa. They answered my craigslist ad: I’m addicted to tv. Please buy my 27″ Sony TV & digital converter– $45) While examining the tv, from 1999, he looked at his wife and said proudly, “it’s a nice tv right? It’s a Sony!” She nodded uncomfortably. He told me he could give it to his son one day, they are expecting their first child, a boy, in March. It occurred to me how differently we were looking at this tv. For me it was an albatross. For him it was a glorious new SONY television he would pass onto his son one day.
I should have been delighted– a lovely start to my day–being a part of the beginning of a young couple’s life and 40 bucks in my pocket. But instead I practically kicked him out of my apartment because he didn’t bring exact change.
I got on the 7 train today and there was a tired-looking mother and her 4-year old son. He was holding one of those musical toys you can play while it’s still in it’s original packaging. (Packaging with logos and writing on it to lead you to believe it could be from Apple, Disney, a luxury airline, baby einstein, Playskool (which spells school incorrectly disturbingly.) I thought well that’s a nice way to entertain and teach at the same time. It had animal shaped buttons that when pressed play moo, meow or in this case a sound that no matter how many times it’s pressed over the course of a 20 minute train ride, may never make sense. One of those toys that produced an incessant amount of noise that varies in loudness based on which button you press. It never stops and no one else seems to be bothered. Everyone on the train either has children and has learned how to tune it out, or are involved in some severe meditation practice. It’s a good thing I was on my way to a fucking yoga class. It’s as if he were completely oblivious to everyone else on the train. He ignored all my dirty looks and mental beatings. Seriously, no one else wanted to tear the toy out of that child’s arms and beat his mother with it?
Getting onto the subway, I like to wait for people to get off the train first, so I don’t feel like a salmon swimming upstream against the mass of people coming out. Not everyone shares this societal more. The MTA will start to close the doors while there are 5 people boarding. So I understand the urgency, but I refuse to contribute to the pushing and shoving, we are still trying to have a society here, we aren’t animals! (There is a New York Post beside me with the headline “Welcome to New York, Now Die.”)
I got on the bus and a woman, rushing to go past me while carrying a parcel big enough to obstruct her view, smacked the back of my ankle. I said OW loudly, so the offender knew an apolgy should come next. But all I got was, “Excuse me.” I must have still been on edge because of the 4 year old. I heard myself saying loudly, “I think an apology is supposed to come with that excuse me.” Am I becoming that person? There must be another way to react. I’m glad I’m getting to yoga, but maybe I need to get out of town for a weekend.
I ran into my neighbor Ellen, a tough, 80+ year old german lady. I’ve shared friendly banter with and her even older husband Ed since I moved into the building several years ago. We exchanged snippets of our day and general pleasantries. She was very sweet and I thought of her as an older unrelated aunt who I liked well enough, but didn’t have a lot of extra time to spare, and hadn’t been engaged with for more that 5-10 minutes at a time. Ed had broken his hip or something years before, but the last few times I saw them, he was slowly moving down the stairs and she was bumping their things down them in her cart. In the past, she would vehemently refuse all attempts to help with her push cart. Today I saw her with her daughter trying to get into her apartment. Ellen looked up and returned my cheery hello. She came walking over to where I was standing, her sparse hair drenched from the rain and clinging to her face. She pointed her index finger at her chest and shook her head, indicating she didn’t want her daughter to know what she was about to say. She whispered, “Ed passed away in August.” She whispered it to me in front of her severely mentally challenged daughter who I guess she hadn’t told yet. I was so take aback. I stood there wanting to comfort her, offer my condolences. I looked from her weathered face to her daughter’s contorted and animated face. I wanted to hug Ellen and let her know I really cared. I was profoundly sad for her. And for a horrible moment I really pitied her. And of all things I knew that was the last thing she would want. Her usually strong and determined face looked worn down and fragile. The toll of the caretaker was starting to show itself. I don’t know when she had last, if ever, been pampered. I feel like this is a letter that should be submitted to Oprah. I’m not sure what the best course of action is, but I want to do something nice for her. Something just for her. I wonder if she would enjoy being dressed up, pampered and photographed.
After yoga today, I wanted to find a cafe to go and write. It had started to drizzle just to the point before you would call it rain. It was constant and my apparently fake raincoat was now slick and drenched. I felt the calming effects of the yoga wearing away as I schlepped thru the west village from one crowded, bathroomless cafe to the next. I stood under the eave of a fancy restaurant that hadn’t opened yet. A nice handsome restaurant worker, running into the restaurant smiled at me and made a comment about the rain. Ah comraderie. Sweet relief. It’s all I needed to jolt me out of my funk. I decided to embrace my grumpy mood. I decided to embrace my suspicious thoughts about Manny. What if he asked for water not because he wasn’t used to a five flight walk up and was thirsty, but because he was trying to distract me while they cased the apartment? What did it matter if he did look into my purse. What if he did purposely only bring $20s even if they were just at breakfast and in all likelihood had a wallet full of 10s and 5s. In all likelihood he was trying to impress his wife with his boss man behavior. So instead I think of my mom and dad just starting their lives together struggling and eeking money out and scrimping and saving. How delighted they were to get a used Singer sewing machine the neighbor was getting rid of. I imagine that neighbor wasn’t worried that my parents were casing their apartment to come back and steal their rice cooker. They are a young couple like my parents were. (or are they?)
The point of all this I guess is sometimes you don’t know what someone is going thru. And does it matter? Maybe I’m going thru something. I decided it’s okay to be grumpy. I decided it was okay to be suspicious. And now I don’t need to be either. I look around at my surroundings–a very cool hotel lobby with a DJ spinning great music, interesting, attractive people abound, in town for important reasons… it makes me want to throw up. Look at all these uber attractive people doing uber interesting things, connecting with other uber interesting and attractive people. The threesome to my left was just discussing their properties on Lake Cuomo in Italy. They have artistic resident programs for people to just go for a month and work on a project. I overheard that many Opera’s were written on their land. I bet they aren’t complaining about getting the skin on the back of their heel torn off. Unless they got a blister from hiking thru the vineyards and down to George Clooney’s place. But this isn’t helping me make my original point. My original point was that I don’t believe that successful people complain as much as the average achiever. Successful people assess and act. They are decisive.
Being surrounded by so many fabulous people is distracting. I’m shutting down my computer and going home. And I’m downloading 30 Rock.