...a potent blend of Miss Manners and Batman

Sunday, January 6, 2008

What is There to Complain About?

I'm finding it hard to maintain this blog -- my life is pretty complaint-free, and I've learned to take a lot of things in stride that previously annoyed me, like the reckless driving of young turks on the highway. I guess that life in the country will do that to a curmudgeon. Here are some things I used to find annoying in Manhattan that simply go too easily in New Paltz. Let's start with the letter P.

Well, big-city parking hasn't got a lot to say in its favor. The furthest we've had to drive for a spot in the Noop is about a City block. In NYC, on the other hand, I can't even count the number of times I've parked over a mile from where I'm heading or have spent over a half-hour looking for a place.

Parking Tickets
We've gotten a grand total of one parking ticket in our 16 months in New Paltz. It was for an expired meter, and Shirra didn't pay it on time, so the fine doubled... to $20. The cheapest ticket in the 5 Boroughs, on the other hand, is about $55, but the one I got last year (for parking on the street-cleaning side at the wrong time one day) was for $110. I almost got a second one in New Paltz, but I arrived at the car just as the ticket-writer did, and he simply smiled, exchanged a few words, and walked away. In NYC, that sort of behavior is extinct in most locales, which explains why meter-readers in Manhattan want guns and bullet-proof vests.

How many NYC folks dread ever having to set foot in a post office? Part of the success of FedEx and UPS is probably the simple fact that they are NOT the post office. In New Paltz, there are only three postal workers you're likely to see, and all of them are pleasant, knowledgeable, and efficient (you're lucky to bat one-for-three in The Big Apple).

How often does it happen that a person has to pee but can't get to a toilet in New York City? Sure, they're plentiful if you know where to look (Barnes & Noble, McDonald's), but first you have to park. Of course, most Manhattanites don't have cars in the first place, so they just have to walk two blocks to the nearest Starbucks, but then those bathrooms are likely to be either occupied or occupied and disgusting (those are apparently the only two options). In New Paltz, on the other hand, it doesn't take long to learn best places to pee (Starbucks is one of them), but they're rarely occupied when you get there, and they're all much cleaner. My favorite ones can be found at the Stop and Shop, the Library, and best of all, Water Street Market.

What's a complainer to do? It's easy to be a kvetcher among the tall buildings of the city, but it's not so easy to be a kvetcher in the rye.


voiceofsocietyman said...

I wrote a fan letter to Philip Roth after reading Portnoy's Complaint i told him he should change the name to Kvetcher in the Rye..odd coincidence///;Clarissa

voiceofsocietyman said...

Thanks, mom! That's such a cute story, and it makes a nice connection to a great writer. I hope you saved the letter!

About Me

My pesky alter ego who will set you right if you break one of the unwritten rules of getting along