Monday, October 19, 2009

500 words of fury

There is a feature in the Times’s new Metropolitan section where you can send in a 500-word rant about something that bothers you, and, if you’re as lucky as this week’s French-teacher winner, they publish it for all to see. I’m obviously sending something in, but am having trouble narrowing it down. Leave your vote – or suggestion! – in the comments. (I will at some point Google those blog-quiz things and put one of those in too, I hope.)

-The near-impossibility of renting an apartment within your price range if you do not work in finance. This would be a painful rant involving questions of guarantors, realtors, and surely other ‘tors as well.

-The inescapable presence of The Hott. Yesterday, for instance, I’m on the subway platform with Jo, and we see this man with a very small bulldog on a leash apologize to a woman and leave the station, rather than, say, waiting for the train like a normal person. But the man seemed, aside from the MTA-violating lap-dog-on-leash, quite normal. At which point another person remarked to us, bemused, “That was strange.” Apparently – as I had, I’ll be honest, suspected – the man had followed this woman into the station to ask her out, and been rebuffed. The woman was just your usual 20-year-old Slavic model with no thigh bulge – or, I almost want to say, no thighs, except that technically her calves attached to something – whatsoever. She did not seem at all surprised that a man who did not seem like a lunatic had spent $2.25 (or not, if he had an Unlimited Metrocard, as Jo and I of course discussed) to ask her out. If this happened to me… I can’t even say what I would do, because it’s unimaginable. Basically I don’t think I’d be pleased, but, moot point.

-French tourists. This would address all overly-elegant foreigners here for one reason and one reason only: sneakers that go for 80 euros cost $30 here. Crips aren’t the only ones who go wild for athletic footwear. The Europeans might look sophisticated to us, what with their scarves and fluency in languages other than English, but don’t be fooled: 99% of the time, they’re here for the Nike pas cher.

-The sardine-tin arrangement this city expects us to refer to as “restaurant tables.” This one’s no good, because it’s just one complaint: restaurant tables are too close together to make dining out a pleasant experience. And the answer’s too easy: if you can’t afford the top 1% where this is not the case, don’t eat out. And, for the most part, I don’t. Problem solved.

-The influence of “Sex and the City” on women’s self-presentation and, alas, self-conception. This includes tourists and locals alike. Any time you see a group of three or more overly-made-up adult women walking in a row, with some proximity to cupcakes, this is what you’re witnessing. That said, because I’m pro-cupcake, I fear this rant would lack the necessary vitriol.

9 comments:

PG said...

I like the French tourists, overly-elegant foreigners one. The others seem like stuff that lots of people would come up with, but noting the trans-Atlantic price differential of sneakers, and the general demystification-without-Francophobia of the topic, is probably uniquely Phoebe.

Phoebe said...

You're probably right. I was most annoyed by the Hott issue yesterday, what with the above-mentioned anecdote, but overall, tourists who look like they're about to spout Proust lining up at Foot Locker, yet receiving universal adulation for their paradoxical thinness and whatnot, is the much greater issue I have with NY life.

PG said...

I am not sure there is a way to write about the Hott issue in the de-contextualized environment of 500 words in the NYT, without an onslaught of readers claiming that you're just jealous of 20-year-old models.

Incidentally, a not-bad deal running this week that doesn't involve going to a restaurant: deliveryweek.com. And the $5 menu at Fishtail, which if you eat downstairs has booths spaced nicely far apart, but does the sardine thing upstairs.
http://www.davidburketownhouse.com/dish/5%20Octoberfest%20Menu.pdf

Phoebe said...

Isn't everybody on some level jealous of 20-year-old models? That said, I agree that the fury over French tourists is more specific to me than the model complaint - I'm not actually so bothered by the models, whereas the crowds in Uniqlo...

I may have to investigate these food suggestions!

PG said...

Isn't everybody on some level jealous of 20-year-old models?

If there are any who eat like I eat and still look like that, I am so jealous I want to stab them with a pitchfork. (But not before using them for laboratory experiments and extracting whatever serum allows them to do it.) However, from what I understand most models live in a near-constant state of hunger. I'd rather have pumpkin spice frozen custard than the attentions of strange men who follow me into the subway.

Anonymous said...

very provincial complaints

Anonymous said...

I think the discussion you and Jo had about the extent of the rebuffed suitor's investment in the enterprise--full fare vs. unlimited Metrocard--deserves wider circulation.

--EH

Phoebe said...

Provincial complaints are the point here.

Anonymous said...

I gotcher provincial complaint right here, miss: 'impossibility of renting an apartment' - here is some dog-in-manger jerk keeping a cheap rent controlled apartment for TWELVE YEARS for his hobbies, while others can't find a place to live: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/13/fashion/13love.html?scp=1&sq=gave+notice+landlord+apartment+marriage&st=nyt. And then, of course, there is the role of rent control in making this possible, and driving up the price point which people who actually need a space to live in must face. dave.s.