The ’70s are Alive in the E. 50s
Um, I'll admit to having second thoughts about my new job (and so what if a coworker reads this because that's a fair statement, no vitriol or hate or specifics, just that I'm not fully convinced of my decision yet) but what wasn't expected was an informal job offer from the NY Post. I am a shameless master of puns and alliteration. Be thankful that I generally spare you from my purple prose (I totally used the phrase "libidinous libation" in the piece I turned in today–no lie–and no regrets). I don't have a journalism background, there's that tricky detail about how I don't know Spanish or a thing about reggaeton (a.k.a. ass fucking music in my vernacular) which they love writing about and I'm pretty sure the pay would be less (I think with my new salary I might be lower middle class now, just like I was raised, can't go messing with nature), but in an abstract way I'm loving the whole notion because it's so bizarre. If I was younger and hadn't spent a fortune on graduate school I would probably consider this seriously. Would a suburban biracial writer feel strange about working at Essence? I don't know. I'm so not a textbook NYC Latina, I wouldn't feel right about it, but I never feel right about anything. It's just kind of sad about New York, that there's so much media here, but so many publications, high brow, popular, revered, trendy, whatever, are so closed off to "regular" (no, not saying minorities–it's not like I identify as one anyway) people, ambitious or not. Individuals who didn't go to prestigious schools, or follow the correct path or befriend the right people, i.e. 90% of this country. I guess those are the losers that blogs (I wonder when spell check will start recognizing blog as a legitimate word and stop red underlining it) were created for. Back to off-putting work neighborhood. I just don't get the upper east side (not sure if mid-50s are technically upper but it has that feeling) it makes me feel uneasy and sad inside like Victorian chimney sweeps, street urchins and anything Dickensian. Oliver! made me physically ill as a child (though Mark Lester is one hot child. Wow, what a sexy/dirty site fronting as a "Boy Choir & Soloist Directory") which was probably enhanced by the period piece within a period piece, 1968 meets 1838 in a collision of eerie style and film stock. The Upper East Side isn't quite like that, but reminds me of '70s sitcoms, where characters like Rhoda might live and The Jeffersons definitely did. Like ferns and chrome and revival of art deco fonts, doormen buildings with wall to wall carpet, Gloria Vanderbilt, pastrami on rye, Annie Hall-inspired vests and trousers, and restaurants with French maitre d's and dance floors (I've never seen such a thing in my life, but they're always used on tv to signify a fancy establishment. Even Roseanne and Dan went to one in Lanford–I saw that a couple months ago). It feels dusty and dated, I'd cry if I had to live here (isn't it the new hipster zone, though?). Case in point, there's a Wendy's two blocks from my office. I'm no fan of Wendy's, I go maybe once a week because they have a relatively cheap inoffensive salad, and it's always a madhouse. I used to complain about the Grand Central area, lots of tourists and slow walkers, but this is totally the opposite, mean, nasty residents and office workers. People actually play chicken with me on the sidewalk, make eye contact and then speed walk into my path like I'm going to move. I don't think so. The odds are that I'm heavier than the interloper and wearing flats so I have more stability. A smaller woman in heels will topple into a painful heap if they won't get out of my way, and I don't budge. So, I thought the old Wendy's near Grand Central was bad, but oh my god, they were so this millennium. They had three separate lines and a register before you got to the cash register where they'd take your order and if it went smoothly (which it rarely did) your food would be ready by the time you made it to the front of the line. This semi-upper east side Wendy's is totally analog. They have one enormous line and a girl (sometimes a guy) with a checklist pad who physically marks down your order and then rips off the piece of paper so you can hand it to the cashier after waiting in line some more, and then there's a wall of customers standing around the registers for their food to be made and the cashiers are constantly yelling "next" but no one knows where to go because there's no room to stand once you get out of line. My point is, how on earth does having a human write down your order so you can give it to another person, speed anything up? I do agree that the fewer words exchanged the better. Customer service people never understand my English because I don't have an accent. I'm serious. But if you speak really bossy and belligerently and mumble and say "gimme" or "let me get" instead of "may I please have," they totally respond. Even freaking Oliver Twist said please before asking for more.