This was a question in my GRE Prep program in the category of sentence completion.  I thought it was quite poignant given what’s going on in our nation’s economy:

The population’s —- complacency with regard to the risks involved in investing in the stock market was an indication of the hubris of an age in which most people had never experienced real —-.

Answer:  excessive… hardship

Ain’t that the fuckin’ truth?  I mean, what *tremendous* hubris these pricks on Wall Street had to keep selling these bullshit investments, just packaging and repackaging and selling again, then selling insurance to doubtful buyers.  I asked my mother today as the market fell AGAIN by 200 points at the opening bell this morning, after a drastic 700 points last week, and as we’re hearing about the tremendous effects this is having on the world’s economy…did NO ONE see this coming?  She said of course people saw it coming but no one wanted to be the one to stay stop this…they were making too much money.   And then this GRE prep question explains so much.  The guys that got us into this mess…this is a generation that has never seen real hardship.  They cannot understand it, and even KNOWING the huge risks they were taking, NEVER could even imagine in their wildest dreams what extreme circumstances lay ahead.  My grandfather, who born in 1920 and lived through the great depression, would NEVER…..EVER have taken such gigantic risks.  But that’s how history repeats itself isn’t it?  The ones in power don’t pay attention to the foolish mistakes made by those before them.  Or they tell themselves this time is different.  Shame on all of you greedy bastards…shame on you.   I hope you enjoyed your excessive wealth while it lasted.  I hope you had fun with all your money.

A good article that outlines where much of my anger comes from:

Wall Street contrarian James Grant asks: Why no Outrage?

http://www.finfacts.ie/irishfinancenews/article_1014244.shtml

This is a subject I feel very passionate about, and I was just faced with this issue last night so I just had to post something today.  To AAAAAALLLLL men who may not know this (because APPARENTLY it is a good number more than I ever realized until now):             

IT IS NOT OKAY TO CLIP YOUR FINGERNAILS IN PUBLIC.  IT’S GROSS. 

Let this humble little blog be a lesson to all of you men who seem to not think it’s a big deal.  Perhaps no woman or socially self-aware man in your life ever explained this to you, you big gross babies.  Just like trimming your nose hairs, nail clipping is something you do IN YOUR OWN BATHROOM…not in the laundromat, not on the subway, not in the office, ONLY YOUR BATHROOM.  Shit, any room in your house, I could give a rat’s ass, just NOT NEAR ME.  Okay, sweeties? 

Last night the public clipping offender was in the laudromat while I quietly folded my towels.  I let it go for a few minutes, but as the clipping went on and on, I walked up to him and asked if he was planning on doing his toenails next.  He didn’t hear me so, speaking up, I asked if he could please step outside.  He politely obliged, at which point I stuffed the rest of my unfolded laundry in my bag and bolted the hell out of there.  🙂 I hadn’t fully thought my plan through- even after he took the clipping outside, I’d still have to finish folding my laundry with guy-who-thinks-it’s-okay-to-clip-nails-in-the-laundromat. 

I checked with my older brother on this issue to make sure I had a male perspective, that it wasn’t something on the male-female divide like public crotch adjustment, or often nose-picking, both things men do in public WAY more often than women.  Crotch adjustment I can’t judge because I don’t have that equipment dangling down there all the time, so you boys can have that one.  Nose picking one can at least look away and try to ignore (even though catching someone knuckle-deep, digging for a crusty one is kinda like a train wreck- you just can’t turn away), but with nail clipping it’s the SOUND that is so invasive.  There’s no escaping!   My brother confirmed that nail clipping is not an appropriate public activity.  He ventured a guess that perhaps some men just have an inability to see things from the other person’s side.  Or perhaps no one ever told them it was not polite.  Well, if the latter is the case, then I hope my asking the laudromat clipper to go outside was a change in his world forever.  Maybe I was the first person ever in his life to step up and tell him NO- THAT IS GROSS- GET AWAY FROM ME (although from the looks of him, probably not).  Ladies and gentlemen, take a cue, and say no to public nail clipping.   If we don’t, who will?  Make a difference in your community.   Or the public nail clippers will have children and teach them to clip their nails in public, and they’ll have public nail clipping children, and soon we’ll be surrounded by people clipping their nails at the library, at the post office, on the bus and at the dinner table!

I consider myself to be a fairly impatient  person.  I’m working on it.  Through many different calming practices, from countless self-help books to the occasional alcoholic beverage (crowded trains are so much more tolerable after a bevvie or two) to practicing meditation, I’ve managed to bring the anxiety down considerably.  I think I’ve become MUCH more patient than I used to be.  But let’s face the facts: I live in New York friggin’ City.  The mecca of impatience.  Being impatient is a lifestyle here.  It’s almost a requirement.  Everyone is in a rush, all the time.  New Yorkers are in a rush to get to work, they’re in a rush to get home, they’re in a rush to drink, they’re in a rush to eat, and they’re in a rush to pay.  This is just not the ideal place for one to find their inner peace. 

 

I have compiled a small list of just a few pet peeves of mine about impatient New Yorkers that drive me absolutely BATTY causing me to get…well, impatient. 

 

1. The person who doesn’t wait for people to exit the train before getting on.  It’s not so bad at off-peak hours or on a low-traffic train.  Then, I can usually shrug this off.   I’m talking about at rush hour, at a very popular stop like 42nd or 14th, where there are  A LOT of people that have to get off.   And still this classic douchebag feels the need to shove his way through all the people trying to exit the train the moment the doors open.  This sends me into that high anxiety mode where you’re so annoyed that you ALMOST say something, but then you remember that it would achieve absolutely nothing (YOU know what I’m talking about!).  I just have to ask– WHAT GIVES, train pusher?  We’re all getting on the same tiny freaking car! 

 

2. People who can’t even wait for the greeting on an answered telephone call before they begin talking. It sounds something like this (actual bosses’ names have been changed to protect their privacy):

“Mark Snyder’s office, this is Megan speak-”
“Yeah, is he around?!?”

sometimes not even THAT much gets out before the interruption:

“Michael Carp-”
“Yeah, is he in?!?”

I love these people.  They are SOOOOOOOO busy that they have to get that person on the phone RIGHT AWAY, no time to exchange phone manner pleasantries. That 1.5 seconds it takes you to state whose office this is and your name is SUCH a disruption to their busy workday, they just can’t stand it. After all, they already KNOW whose office they are calling, Damnit!! And, by god, you should already know who they are, too! God forbid you ask their name.

3. The person who can’t wait for you to finish paying at the bodega/deli/newsstand before they slap down their exact change for their coffee or newspaper.  No matter that you were there first, or that the cashier is servicing you at the moment.  They have got places to BE, and standing in line at the deli is not one of them. This person will frequently stare directly at you while you get your money out, often become agitated if you have to go in your coin purse for change, and before you can blink they have paid and stomped out before you’ve even finished anxiously stuffing your four dollars back in your wallet.

I should add that I have lived in the Southeast, where everyone’s pace is much much slower, and this is way more annoying to me.  I appreciate the fast pace of New York.  I just wish some people wouldn’t be such assholes and calm down a moment…find their balance.  There is a way to have a fast paced lifestyle yet still have patience and dignity.  

Anyone care to share their own encounters with obnoxiousness?

Prompted by Anna’s comment to my last post, I did a little research and it turns out that there really is a freaking waterfall under the Brooklyn Bridge.   It’s an exhibit running only this summer set up by the Public Art Fund of New York.  And I was not joking in my last post, I really had NO IDEA this existed!  The page I found with the water taxi info doesn’t even mention it!  

For other uninformed people like me, the project consists of four man-made waterfalls of monumental scale, on display on the shores of the New York waterfront: one on the Brooklyn anchorage of the Brooklyn Bridge; one on the Brooklyn Piers, one in Lower Manhattan at Pier 35 north of the Manhattan Bridge; and one on the north shore of Governors Island.  They operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, and are lit after sunset.  You can read more about it on the official website.

HOWEVER, I still insist that the Water Taxi photo in my last post is a PHONY, because the damn thing doesn’t really look like that!  One reader said that from any view, you ALWAYS see the scaffolding.  Here are some REAL photos (NOT digitally retouched) that I think give the viewer a clearer understanding:

 

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m all for public art and stuff…but COME ON.  Water cascading from scaffolding?  REALLY?  I just don’t know.  And the Brooklyn Bridge one is the best of the four– at least it’s backed up against the anchorage of the bridge.  The others are just freestanding scaffolding:

  

After perusing some reader comments from all over the web about this exhibit, I’ve pasted some of my favorites from people on both sides of the argument for your reading pleasure:

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“I mean this may be the dumbest thing I have ever seen. Why not take a drive upstate and see some real nature? If you have no car then maybe a bus? I mean fake waterfalls in Manhattan?  If you are actually impressed by these than it means you really need to get out of the city and see some real nature. And we wonder why our economy is so bad?”  –posted by Jcap on NYT.

“Yes, God forbid we have something to take our minds off the depressing economic environment. Enjoy spending your free time staring and your empty wallet and worrying.  I’ll be out walking along the river enjoying some privately funded art/distraction.”

“The best things in life are free. You’re in NYC, one of the most exciting cities in the world. You can always find something fun to do that costs little to nothing. If you’re so jaded that everything in NYC bores you, this isn’t going to help. “

“I find the complaints bizarre. The point is an “urban” waterfall — something that is, yes, artificial and constructed, but meant to evoke something greater in nature, to bring it into contrast with the city landscape.   Are there the same complaints about urban parks? Why take a stroll there when you can hike in the woods?  It’s not meant to be the same experience. Just think for a moment. I certainly do wish I was in NYC again to see this. “- Posted by Gloria on NYT.

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I LOVE a good public debate!  And if you’re wondering, the funding is both public and private- Public Art Fund is a non-profit organization with generous private donors, but also receives some funds from the National Endowment for the Arts- a pittance, I’m sure, but tax dollars nonetheless.   Other lazy blog commenters think the dirty East River water might be a health hazard when the wind kicks up the mist– FYI, the water is filtered before it comes out the waterfall.

Anyone care to share their thoughts?  Personally, I’m on the fence.  Fake waterfalls:  beautiful and thought-provoking artistic expression that gives residents and tourists something new to enjoy?  OR colossal waste of time and money that could be going to helping third-world nations?  DISCUSS. 

One of my best friends is leaving New York (see blog TryBecca).  I’ve noticed it’s common for people moving away from New York who feel like they may never return to want to purchase a sightseeing tour or start participating in extremely touristy activities.  It’s a natural reflex.  Every person I’ve known to leave the city who has no family or work ties to the place goes through this.  One friend made a trip across the Brooklyn bridge before her grand departure.  One decided to organize a group skate at Wollman’s Rink in Central Park.  Yet another expressed interest in the double-decker bus.  It’s always an activity that is so easy, accessible, and often extremely low cost, but you just DON’T DO IT while you live here.  It’s just not that important while you’re racing to and fro, trying to work hard enough to keep up with this crazy place and its outrageous cost of living.  But when your departure date has become finalized, it’s fucking important.  The option to walk the Brooklyn Bridge any given weekend is no longer there.   I know I’ll be pricing the tours when my time comes to leave (not anytime soon).

So last week I began looking on the web for the best and brightest touristy thing to do for Becca’s last hurrah! and stumbled upon this photo:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Um…is that…a waterfall?  Coming out of the Brooklyn Bridge?  Someone help me out with this one.  Because I suddenly wonder if mine own eyes haven’t deceived me….IS there really a waterfall coming out of the Brooklyn Bridge somewhere?  

I’ve been on two city cruises- one on Circle Line, and one on a Water Taxi- both of which went underneath the Bridge of Brooklyn…  I have also physically stood ON the Brooklyn Bridge, as a pedestrian.  And in none of these instances have I EVER seen a waterfall emerging out of any part of the Brooklyn Bridge.  Water taxi…what the hell?  Please fire your web designer.  This man or woman should have never been taught to use Adobe Photoshop.  This is like when we used to tell the freshmen in high school that the Olympic-sized pool was located on the 3rd floor, and our high school had two floors.  It’s just not nice to purposefully deceive!  Bad karma.  I wonder how many people have asked for their money back when they go under the bridge, and see nothing but garbage floating around the base.  hehe