Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The thing about New Yorkers is...

We love to complain. What separates the complaints of New Yorkers vs personalities of other cities is our anger and immense frustration we build up towards the people we blame. We HATE the MTA and it's president for cutting service lines, cutting jobs, and then raising fares! We HATE taxi cab drivers that continue to drive even though "we're walkin' he-ah!" We place the blame and believe that there's nothing to be done because there is nothing you can do about stupidity.

After the Christmas Blizzard the city was up in arms about Mayer Bloomberg's response. We were angry that our roads weren't plowed, that sidewalks remained covered in snow and that our train lines were disrupted. We hated the Mayer and the head of sanitation and we hated the weather. Weather, you are so stupid, who do you think you are throwing a blizzard on our city?!

But something interesting happened to me on the way to work today. I walk the 30 blocks to work, it takes about 30 minutes. I was in my normal mood of "don't mess with me or get in my way or I will run you over" when I got to a crosswalk where I clearly couldn't jay-walk (traffic had already started moving). A couple of us stood there waiting with a man who was shoveling the sidewalk. He took a break while we waited, we didn't notice, we never really notice anyone do we? Until the shoveler turned around and said "Here, let me clear this way for you," and he shoveled away the slush and grime. Then he smiled. I smiled back. The girl next to me tried to jay-walk but there was still traffic coming. The Shoveler said "Be safe today, you should always cross when the white light appears, ok stay warm, stay dry, have a good day!" It was the oddest thing. I had just received customer service on the street at a crosswalk. It was like New York City became a giant store that was catering to me. Thank you sir for shoveling that sidewalk, and being nice about it.

Monday, January 10, 2011

My Coffee Cup Addiction

Lord help me, I love buying take away coffee. Oh but the guilt! I guess it doesn't really help that of the two religions I can choose from, both of them give high praise for austerity. But I can't help myself, I get a paycheck and I just want to spend, spend, spend. I'm not one for clothes shopping, unless the mood strikes me. I did just splurge, (and I mean SPLURGE) on a pair of Steve Madden boots. The last time I did that was a Michael Kor's trench coat two years ago, so I allow myself. It's the little things that get me down and make me wonder why I really need to buy them.

My biggest vice has to be take-away coffee. I'm a sucker for brewed Hazelnut, but what I love most are the cups. The crisp clean white of a Starbucks grande, the industrial styrofoam of Dunkin' Donuts and not having to lug it around and wash it when you get home. Probably my weirdest obsession, when it comes to take away coffee, are the lids. Most of my coffee buying decisions are made based on what type of lid it comes with. If it's a peel back plastic lid, I find the strength to pass. No matter the count, grade or age of your 100% arabica beans, I won't be enjoying my coffee while I'm cutting my lips on the perforated edge and scalding them simultaneously while not enough air is getting between the inside and outside of the cup to allow for proper flow. But trust me, my knees go weak for a raised mouthpiece, Starbucks, Dunkin', 7-11 and even McDonald's have my number on that one. It's a shame, I have such love for Cafe Bacio, on 70th and 3rd. Not only do they have brewed Hazelnut, their cups are chic, their lids are raised, but the milk, oh the skim milk! It's foamed! This cute little nook of a cafe resides right in the middle of my commute so if I did buy my coffee it would only be in the morning and it would be cold by the time I get to work.

What I've been doing lately is washing my coffee tumbler at home, carrying it to work, then drinking the variably passable brew they have in the staff kitchen. I add a little skim milk, half a splenda, and I can survive the morning. But these past couple of lunches I've found myself wandering into Dunkin' Donuts moving from a medium Hazelnut, to a medium Hazelnut and a donut, to a large Hazelnut and a donut! Even as I'm writing this I can't wait to get back on my lunch break tomorrow and pick up another coffee, and even a donut! This has to stop!

But do I want it to stop? Starbucks said it best, "take comfort in rituals." And it's a ritual all right. I've convinced myself that happiness and serenity (and a caffeine kick) come while holding a paper cup, with a hot liquid, a mouth molded top and handing over $3 for it.

I try to limit my buying, opting for brewing at home, work coffee, or even free gym coffee, but I feel that I've started and I can't stop! It was the same for a while with yogurt parfaits, and I'm scared manicures and pedicures might be next. But for now, it's just happiness in a cup, with a lid, skim and half a splenda.