Sunday, June 15, 2008

Manhattan Meditations

My early observations, on a Saturday morning after 4 hours' sleep:

1. Shop assistants are unbelievably and inconceivably rude. No smiles, no eye contact, and God forbid you'd like your clothes put in a change room. It's not uncommon to be in the middle of being served by a sales girl and then watch her walk away while you wait, thinking that she's doing something important for you, only to find out 5 patient minutes later (when you ever-so-politely ask what she's doing) that she's "doing something else".

2. Which leads me to Observation #2... Tipping sucks. I mean, fair enough if you like the service. But why do I have to tip a cab driver? For doing his job? I mean, it's not like he reached back and gave me a foot rub on the way to my destination, or that he even spoke to me, or turned down his hideously loud music, or showed much of an interest in keeping me alive. Or how about the sullen bar girl who won't look me in the eye and then slams my drink down on the bar with obvious disdain? Does she think her service warrants her telling me that "you know, in this country, it's customary to tip 20% in a bar". Which it isn't. It's $1 a drink unless the service is exceptional. But you can't say that if you want to be served again later in the night. And I know you're going to tell me that "they don't earn much" and "they live off tips", because it's what I used to say. But being treated like the dog poo that's just caught a ride in on someone's shoe quickly kills off any high philanthropic ideals.

3. But on a more positive note, the weather here is truly sublime. Warm and moistly breezy and like a perfect Spring day in Perth. It makes you happy to be alive and everything looks a little hopeful. Except the people, because...

4. Manhattanites don't actually dress as well as we've been led to believe. Across the bridge in Williamsburg is a different story, but in Manhattan, the vast majority look like they've just rolled out of bed (or an outer suburbs charity shop) to buy some milk across the street. People do dress well, but they are such a tiny minority in this borough of 1.5 million people that you could make it a full time job just trying to spot them (and some do).

5. Walking around Manhattan and Brooklyn for 8 hours in a pair of Oxfords will necessitate the buying of a new pair of ergonomically correct and cushioned slingbacks with laces up the front and an open toe.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

haha! i hear ya sister.... Gene