Lame Adventure 352: Welcome Home New York City-style

I returned to New York from my holiday getaway in the San Francisco Bay Area on the red eye Friday morning.  Lack of sleep and total body pain that I self diagnosed as arthritis in my left knee, a pulled muscle in my right arm, and a slight headache combined with general suffering, a.k.a. the predominant ingredient in my charm, rendered me useless for the entirety of my first day back in the Apple.  I’d like to say that I slept dreamlessly, but it’s possible that I was merely hallucinating for twelve hours about lying motionless in a full body splint.  Before losing consciousness I did manage to run a few errands including shopping at my neighborhood market, Fairway.  I knew I was officially home when I approached the green bean stand.  Just as I was about to select my beans, a woman yammering on her iPhone placed her coffee cup over them.

Me:  Really?

The Yammerer responded with a line of classic New York City verse:

Yammerer:  What’s your problem?

The weather forecast for today is two to four inches of snow.  The New York Times published on their Cityroom Blog a post with a headline proclaiming, “Tomorrow, It Will Snow, Perfectly”.  Andy Newman wrote:

“The ideal city snowstorm, meteorological Platonists say, blankets the landscape without burying it, beautifies but does not burden, transforms and cocoons without paralyzing or even particularly inconveniencing.

Such an event is expected to come our way on Saturday.”

Tomorrow is now today, Saturday.  I’m not a “meteorological Platonist” – whatever the hell that is, but I can say with authority that it’s been a steady mix of slushy flakes and cold rain.  This scene surely would have made the Currier and Ives circular file.

I woke remembering that yesterday I had forgotten to pay a bill for my final blood test of the year.  If my memory is still as sharp as melted butter, that test was to determine that it’s more than ice water and soot flowing through my veins.  I used my last Forever stamp on the payment envelope and decided to trek through the icy slop to Ansonia Station, my local post office here on the Upper West Side, to both mail the aforementioned payment and to replenish my Forever stamps.

There was only one customer in line, a guy that had entered a nano-second before me.  Three postal clerks were servicing other customers, but a fourth was free so she called the guy over.  Now it was just me waiting.  Within seconds, a customer at the window nearest to where I was standing finished and walked away.  The clerk looked right at me.  I looked at her hopeful, and flashed a friendly California-style smile anticipating her to say, “Next.”  Instead, she walked away.  I looked at my watch and realized that I am such a knucklehead.  Obviously the time had come for her to take her one forty-three in the afternoon break.  I waited and waited.  All of the customers at the windows were like barnacles.  Finally, a clerk beckoned.  Now about ten people were waiting behind me in line.  I told the clerk that I would like twenty Forever stamps:

Me:  Do you have any with pictures other than the flag?

She took out a booklet of holiday stamps decorated with Christmas trees.

Me: Do you have anything else?

She looked at me as if I had asked her to give me a kidney.  She snarled in my face:

Postal Clerk:  Look over there.

Me:  Where’s “there”?

She gestured to her left, my right.  Under a glass covering a station over from hers was an assortment of Forever stamp designs.

Me:  Am I going to lose my place as I look for my stamp?

She did not acknowledge my question, possibly because hostility is so energy depleting.  I figured she’d grant me a three count to settle on a stamp so I looked at the display at warp-speed.  A series tailor-made for me called “Great Film Directors” caught my eye.

I resisted asking if I could have all Billy Wilder since he's one of my all-time favorite filmmakers.

I resisted asking if I could have all Billy Wilder since he’s one of my all-time favorite filmmakers.

I returned to the angry clerk’s window and told her what I had selected.  She said nothing.  She walked away as if she had boulders strapped on each ankle.  Her destination was a closed box that holds the picture stamps.  She returned with my sheet of Great Film Directors and announced:

Postal Clerk:  Nine dollars.

I handed her a twenty.  She gave me my change.  Eleven singles.

Me:  Thank you.

She gave me the stink eye.  I added:

Me:  For not giving me 220 nickels.

It’s great to be home.

64 responses to “Lame Adventure 352: Welcome Home New York City-style

  1. The Queen of Snarky Lame Adventures is baaaaaack!
    Love this. Yammerers abound even in Colorado, but with a lot less stink eye. I think the thin air makes everyone a bit light headed and happier.
    Welcome back! Take some Ibuprophen and get some sleep! 🙂


    • Glad you enjoyed the Manhattan cheer, Susie. I think the soot-filled air down here makes everyone a little bit cloddish and miserable. It’s easy for me to blend in.

      Vacation’s been rather medicinal since I seem to be sleeping through my hot flashes — the most welcome holiday gift of all.


  2. and it is good to have you back. So how is it that you are lucky enough to have a PO open after noon on a Saturday? Maybe that is why they were so peachy– they close at 12:30 here.
    the snow is rather Norman Rockwell-ish here, just a hop, skip and a jump away.
    Hope your feeling better..


  3. Wow. It is HARD to buy green beans in your city! Though your post offices sound just like ours. Welcome back on board, Lame.


  4. HA! I love it. So glad to have you and your humor back. With the relatives in town I could definitely use a laugh to ease the tension and I’ve had a few here and there, but nothing in the Lame Adventure style realm. Dude. You really crack me up. Where do you come up with your comebacks. “220 nickels … because hostility is so energy depleting…” HA! those were my favorites. And your first paragraph … dude … truly awesome. Thanks so much for posting and for cracking me up 🙂


    • Thanks for the love Guat! Glad you enjoyed another documentary-style LA. Fortunately the calculator in my head did not malfunction. If I had screwed up the number I probably would have beaten to within an inch of my life with a roll of Priority Mail tape.


  5. I love your nickels line. May I please use it in the future?


  6. Don’t lose your California smile!


  7. The last time I was at the post office in my small town in North Carolina, the elderly woman in line in front of me handed out candy to all of the postal clerks once her transaction was done. I can only imagine what kind of reception she would have gotten in NYC. What a difference a day’s drive makes.

    It’s great ro see you back.


    • Here in New York, where the elderly avoid eye contact and cling to their purses and wallets as if they contained their lives, someone might have tried to have the sweet old candy giving lady committed.

      Thanks for the welcome back Emily! It was a wonderful getaway. I was actually mellow for a week.


  8. Love it , love it , love it… and now feel not as much isolated in my hobbling experiences.

    Thank you for writing!



  9. So, I have to ask, was the coffee cup particularly large? Or was the bin holding the green beans particularly small?


    • The coffee cup held approximately 12 ounces, the bin was three-sided, around four square feet, and there were bean shoppers on the two other sides. I forgot to carry the apparatus that would have permitted me to hang myself upside down from Fairway’s ceiling to do my bean selecting.


  10. I see now where the USPS sent our local stink-eyed, nonverbal postal clerk that I tried to get fired — aha! Ansonia Station.

    Also the woman who threw her entire body between me and the zucchini I was reaching for one Sunday morning has moved to NYC, too, I see. I said to her, “I suppose you’ve just been to church.”

    As I recall, her answer involved this flash of witticism, “…Church…?”


  11. V, nice to see you and hilarious-ness back. I’ll be going back to NY after a two-month “hiatus” myself and hope to hell there’s no more wind, rain. Dirty slushy slow I can deal with but that wind that makes power go out — NOOOOOO!!! Sounds as if that postal person was just lovely. Happy New Year!!!


    • Hey Brigitte, nice to hear from you! Yes, I know that your experience with Superstorm Sandy provided you with enough wind to last a lifetime. Glad to hear that you’ll be returning to your New York home soon. Happy New Year back at you pal!


  12. Interestingly, I was thinking your last line throughout the post …. so it was like deja vu all over again. Welcome back!


  13. Happy New Year (prematurely). Not sure why anyone would care what was on a stamp these days, unless your a philatelist. I guess I’m just a bit too much of a pragmatist to give a fig regarding imagery on a stamp. New Forever stamps now have pithy one-word statements purportedly evincing our national ethos. Whatever.

    I DID appreciate the nickel line. Who knew you were so strong in the math department?


    • I used to be completely content with Any Stamp when I could get them at my bank, but now that they no longer sell stamps, I’m stuck with going to the P.O. Since I don’t need stamps very often, why not invest in more interesting stamps especially when there’s no line and three clerks working? Initially this did not seem like it would present a blood pressure raising challenge.

      Read this blog long enough Mike and I am sure I will continue to surprise.


  14. Snoring Dog Studio

    Huge Hug for the long lost traveler! How I have missed your posts! I’ve almost forgotten what living in New York is like! Have you and Milton had any recent lame adventures?

    I’m mad that these cranky asses greeted you on your return. I want to punch them in the nose. I don’t know how you manage there, dear V. But your 220 nickels response was hilarious! Damn cranky bureaucrats!


    • Great to hear from you SDS and hugs back buddy! Milton and I continue to have LA’s. He’s been very involved in my Manhattan project which will eventually be an LA when the time is right.

      Thank you for being my hero with the cranks of the city! I manage here because I blend. The California mellow pretty much washed off with the first hot flash of my return.


  15. V,
    Actually, I think it’s very cool that there’s a series of Film Director Stamps. How perfect for you. And while NYC has its challenges, it does seem to suit you. Probably more the contrast of California and being away…And kudos for resisting to request all Billy Wilders. I think you already knew what the answer would have been. Welcome back, hope you’ve gotten more sleep by now and hope that knee gets better soon.


    • I agree with you about those stamps, Cathy! They’re right up there with that series they had featuring classic silent film era comics. I still have a Buster Keaton since he was my favorite from back then, even though Chaplin is the crowd pleaser. The Billy Wilder stamp also features Marilyn playing the ukelele from Some Like it Hot. Love that! As of this writing, only my right arm is hurting, so I might be on the mend. I’m confident that’s temporary.


  16. Welcome home, Sunshine!


  17. I would get chewed up and spit out in NY.


  18. a) i love the way you write. b) you make me miss new york sometimes. xo, sm


    • Gee, I’m truly flattered that you dig how I write, SM, for this silly site is all about the writing and tale-telling.

      I miss New York all the time – even when I’m here. I just can’t get enough of this place. It’s my oxygen.

      It’s swell to hear from you!


  19. God, it’s good to have a post from you! Welcome home and happy hectic New Year! Love the line about 222 nickles. Only you could come up with that! I’ve barely written a word over the holidays, so I need to get my ass in gear. Not easy to get back into the swing of things. I’ve missed you, buddy!


    • Awwwwwwwww, thanks Kathy! The holidays for me have entailed a lot of eating and slothing. Since I was essentially computer-less during my getaway, I didn’t write much either, aside from a few notes in my notebook. My favorite being “note this:” with nothing following since I got distracted, and then forgot what the note was supposed to be about, possibly my solution to ending the fiscal cliff crisis? Happy hectic New Year back at you (and Sara and the pups) pal!


  20. Welcome back!!! Oh we have missed you. You are my first guffaw of the day! Happy New Year!


  21. Glad you made it safely back to the land of Yammers & Slush. Sould like a great subject for a Norman Rockwell painting. Your weatherman would have been happy in the Ozarks Friday afternoon. We had the perfect snow (per description above). Tonight we welcome the New Year with cold rain, Hot Damn, and homemade music. Have a Great New Year’s Eve, Lame.


    • Yes, a Norman Rockwell painting as seen through the eyes of Mad Magazine’s Harvey Kurtzman — remember him Russell? Today over here, it was cold, gray and blustery; definitely not a good night to be amongst the huddled masses waiting for the ball to drop in Times Square, where I will not be anywhere near. Hot Damn sounds like my kind of fun, too. Time to start quaffing! You have a Great New Year’s Eve, too — and a Great New Year as well!


  22. At least you can ID where home is… that’s already a positive sign. Glad you’re back in the blogosphere. This is virtual home. We don’t snarl, and can’t throw 220 nickels at you even if we want to. A personal recollection: I was in NYC for a few days decades ago, and I found the people were friendly, I’m not joking, helpful even. I was standing in a lunch hour line in a restaurant, in Manhattan. I read English alright but just couldn’t make out what the menu items were at the back of the line cooks. The place was busy, and the line moved quite fast. How efficient. But I was new in town. I ordered something in a hurry not even knowing what kind of food my selections were. The cook preparing the item kindly told me, ‘what you have here is a piece of pork chop with bone in your sandwich. Be careful when you eat it.’ I remember this incident even now.
    Hope the respite in SF can last long for you. Have a Happy New Year!


    • That’s a great tale about the bone-in pork chop sandwich, Arti! I love that one! Thanks for sharing. The SF mellow pretty much evaporated within the first 24 hours of my return, so I am back to being my regular jaded New Yorker self and all is once again right in my world.


  23. Happy New Year! Happy Manhattan Project Success!


  24. This made me laugh. A true New York moment?!


  25. You’re making me very nervous. I have been living in Colombia for some time and I’m currently contemplating a move back to NY. Reading your last two posts is reminding what I already knew of course, but with time, have partially forgotten. The people here may be a bit on the mindless side, but they are NICE. (In that mindless sorta way.) Sigh.


    • Allen, if you want mindless there’s plenty of that up here. If you return to Gotham City, maybe it will be all good and you’ll just feel like you’re still in Colombia but the place is on steroids.

      Hey! I thought of you the other day for I encountered a pigeon pecking at a bagel. Of course, I photographed it.

      Happy New Year!


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