Do people have no idea how to act any more?
For example, I went to see Romeo and Juliet on Broadway. Not my first choice, but my wife has always wanted to see the Shakespeare classic performed — and since this production involved Orlando Bloom removing his shirt… well, you get the idea.
Anyhow, the family in front of us spent the entire first act busily rustling around with their snacks. I don’t know what they were into — pretzels, crackers, cookies — but it was feckin’ noisy. My ears ain’t what they used to be, so the distraction made it hard for me to focus on the play. And it doesn’t help that I have a mild case of misophonia.
Now, everybody knows you should unwrap your snacks before the lights go down, so not to annoy the other patrons. That’s a theatre rule, rather like never mentioning the name of the Scottish play. You just don’t do it!
They quieted down, thank God, in the second act. Maybe the parents — well-heeled Connecticut types — remembered their manners. Or maybe they caught wind of us grumbling during intermission.
Either way, were able to enjoy all the dying with a little peace and quiet. And the rippling abbs, too, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Do you ever look at things and wonder how dirty they are? You shouldn’t, because it will make you nuts, but just for the heck of it, let’s talk about the supermarket checkout conveyor belt.
Everything goes on there — from leaky chicken to God knows what. Maybe that’s not such a big deal until you notice your bread peeking out from the end of its paper sleeve.
If you love a crusty baguette, there’s nothing better than the heel, which has more crust than any other slice. But when you see your heel rubbing shoulders with the filthy conveyor belt, it loses some of its delicious appeal. Ack!
So why can’t they make sure the bread isn’t longer than the bag? My theory is that they do it on purpose to give the illusion that you’re getting extra bread — or it may simply be for the eye appeal of your loaf jutting out of the bag. Either way, the unintended consequence is that I want to cut off the end and throw it outside for the crows.
So, local supermarkets, with apologies to Abe Lincoln, how long should these bags be? Long enough to reach the end of the bread.
You never can tell exactly what’s going on, can you?
A blogger at our local newspaper, Kristi Gustafson Barlette, recently wrote about an odd encounter she had with a woman at a local ice cream joint. The woman engaged her in conversation that grew progressively strange, culminating with the lady offering up a taste of her ice cream.
Several commenters pointed out that there may have been more to this incident than just the rambling of an intrusive old woman — that there may have been something causing her to act that way. Naturally, most other commenters were much less forgiving.
In my EMT class, we learned how medical conditions and physical or developmental disabilities may influence behavior. Drugs – prescription or otherwise – and alcohol are also common culprits.
This understanding doesn’t make the person less annoying, but it may instruct us on how we react.
The older I get, the more willing I am to consider that someone’s actions and behavior may be the result of something I know nothing about. A million things cause people to be the way they are, and often it’s simply the sum of their life experience. Hell, sometimes it’s just because they slept poorly. Take a moment before you judge. It’s not easy, but you’ll be a better person for it.
- Local broadcasters who refer to Albany as “the city of Albany.” For example, they’ll say, “a fire in the city of Albany overnight”, rather than just Albany. Look, if you say Albany, we understand that you are referring to the city, and not the county.
- Blog posts about not blogging. Nobody wants to read an explanation about why you haven’t posted anything lately. If you think that’s interesting, we should probably be grateful you haven’t been writing.
- And when did it become OK to peel your corn in the supermarket. Just bring it home and peel it there, OK.
- Leaf blowers. They are for cleaning up leaves, not clearing dust off your driveway.
- Giving my name when I order a drink at Starbucks — but if you insist, Carlos Danger will be my nom de latte.
I like going to the grocery store, and since I do it all the time, certain rituals are part of my shopping behavior. For example, I have a very specific way of loading my groceries onto the checkout conveyor belt — but chief among my shopping quirks is cart management.
I will typcally put my cart in an unobtrusive place and go get what I need. For example, in the vegetable department I’ll leave the cart out of the way and venture out to pick out my produce. Once my items are back in the cart, I’ll strike out again to the tomatoes or whatever. In the aisles I’ll put my cart somewhere that it’s not in the way.
Naturally, not everyone is on board with my techniques. The most annoyoing are:
- People who will not let go of their cart, dragging it around in front of them as they browse the aisles or pick out avocados. This is often practiced by women who put their pocketbook in the cart.
- Those who leave their cart in the center of the aisle.
- Shoppers who block the aisle by parking parallel to other carts.
I think we can all agree that if everyone did things our way, this would be a better world. Or at least the supermarket.
What’s the point of having a blog if you don’t complain about things you find mildly irritating? Like people who pronounce mozzarella mozzrell, dropping the ‘a’ at the end.
I had thought this was largely done by Italian Americans who wish to emsphasize their street cred: mozzarell, manicott, biscott, prosciutt, and so on. The vowel at the end is dropped — but is this affectation or authenticity? Turns out, it’s complicated. This from a 2004 New York Times story:
In some parts of Italy, the dropping of final vowels is common. Restaurantgoers and food shoppers in the United States ended up imitating southern and northern dialects, where speakers often do not speak their endings.
So, like many things, it depends on your neighborhood — but dropping the ending is not universally more Italian than pronouncing it.
Me? I’ll never do it, simply because when I say the words that way I feel like an idiot.
So, I read in the paper we’re getting a Moe’s around the corner — and another frozen yogurt joint. Terrific. You can’t have enough burritos in my neck of the woods. Or enough frozen yogurt. But what I have had enough of is the traffic.
Anyone who was in my end of Bethlehem before Wal-Mart, Lowe’s and the construction of vast new residential neighborhoods will tell you that things have gotten worse. We’ve gone from being at the edge of the country to being in the middle of suburban sprawl.
The people who run things in town tell me that our roads can accommodate all this growth, and to that I cry “bullshit.” Try driving on 9W during rush hour. Other roads, leading to the shopping centers, never intended for such heavy traffic, have become a nightmare as well.
The most recent scheme developers use to maximize their ROI is having their property rezoned as commercial hamlets, which allows for a brew of apartments, town homes, and commercial/retail space. One so called hamlet near my house is an abomination.
As for the impact on traffic, here’s a line I pulled from a commercial hamlet proposal being floated:
“The existing traffic during peak hours is 5,600 trips, and the expected number of trips following the build out of Route 9W would be 14,600.”
Awesome. That’s only a 9000 trip difference!
So enjoy your frozen yogurt and burritos. I’m looking forward to the final day I have to beat the traffic out of town. Sayonara, suckers.
Oh, Hollywood. You come to town and throw your money around and tell us we’re wonderful — and then then the next day you’re gone and all we’re left with is a hangover. And then you never call. And if we do see you again, it’s really awkward.
No industry holds sway over the imagination like the movie business, so when The Place Beyond the Pines came to Schenectady they were treated like royalty. If a cell phone company came to town and spent two million dollars nobody would even notice — and the entire city certainly wouldn’t bend over backwards and kiss their ass.
But Hollywood is different. In David Mamet’s comedy State and Main, a small town goes nuts when the movie people show up. But it’s not just about the locals; Mamet’s movie also shows how producers use the mystique and glamour of movie making to get whatever they want.
Hey, I’m not saying that the Pines shoot wasn’t interesting — but maybe it’s time for the Capital Region (media and area film commissions, in particular) to stop screaming like teenage girls whenever somebody shows up in town with a film crew.
We need to take a lesson from New York, where they’re more like, “Oh, you’re making a movie? That’s nice… now get the #$%@ off the sidewalk, I’m walkin’ here!”
You should always try to park legally, feed the meter, and be responsible about where you put your car. If you do get a ticket, just pay it promptly and avoid further aggravation. I haven’t always been perfect on every one of these counts, but we’re all a work in progress, are we not?
However, if you spend any time in Albany, you should closely follow my advice.
Writing parking tickets in downtown Albany has become a big, huge deal. An army of parking enforcement officers roam around hunting for expired meters and cars parked where they don’t belong. I have even see them pull out a measuring tape and check how far vehicles are from the curb. Just doing their jobs — and it’s not a job that makes you any friends.
But in case you have neglected tickets, you must see this: parking agents now drive around with license plate scanners like the ones on police cars.
Note the scanners on the roof.
This means if you’re on the naughty list — or more accurately, the naughty database — you’ll get caught more easily than ever before. And unpaid fines may get you booted. Pretty soon, they’ll probably use the technology to enforce the new residential parking permit system.
Not making excuses for people with outstanding tickets here, but this is certainly another example of how we’re being monitored in our everyday lives. Some people say that being watched all the time makes for a safer and more orderly society. I say it’s a slippery slope.