Lame Adventure 426: Am I Being Tested?

I admit that I will never be mistaken for someone who is conducting a passionate love affair with their day job. What I do is label tile, an occupation that is equal to tossing years of one’s life off a cliff, but I make an effort to consciously label tile accurately. Labeling tile is an honest, and at times, a stupid living. A recent example of stupid: I received a delivery of tile samples where I discovered I was missing two tiles. I notified the vendor that I needed two more pieces of three-inch square tile, one in the color, Latte Matte, and the other in Steel Grey Matte. Pictured below is what the vendor sent me in the follow-up delivery.

The story of my life in three tiles.

The story of my life in three tiles.

One of the many reasons why I enjoy living in New York so much is that I love the culture. It’s everywhere including in the street.

It's those krazy klowns: Kim and Kanye!

It’s those krazy klowns: Kim and Kanye!

But I also love the theater. Last week, my friend, Milton, treated me to the current Broadway revival of the musical Cabaret playing at Studio 54 starring Alan Cumming and Michelle Williams. This was my Christmas present. When Milton purchased the tickets in 2013, the best seats available were for this performance in July. We’re two patient people who were fine with celebrating our Christmas in July. For those of you who appreciate feedback about shows (the rest of you skip to the next paragraph): this is a terrific revival of a brilliant musical. We were both entirely in our bliss. Alan Cumming has been playing the role of the Emcee off and on since 1993. He was born to play this seductive character. Milton noted that for a guy who is not very handsome, Alan Cumming is so charismatic in that role, he becomes the sexiest guy in the world. This revival is a first for Michelle Williams who had never appeared on the Broadway stage before. She’s cast as Sally Bowles, a role I had only seen on film played extraordinarily by Liza Minnelli. Michelle plays Sally as someone sincere but with minimal talent. Her Sally is infinitely heartbreaking. When Liza powerfully belts the title song, Cabaret, in the film, I recall feeling uplifted. When Michelle’s Sally sings it earnestly on stage, I had the impression that she’s thinking that she’s going to follow the lead of the friend who died “from too much pills and liquor”. She was so vulnerable. We thought she did a fine job in that pivotal role. It’s a shame that she did not score a Tony award nomination. We thought she got robbed. It was a great night of theater in New York City.

Usually, Milton and I find ways to get discounts on our theater ticket purchases. One way is to subscribe to a theater company’s season. One of the theater companies we subscribe to is the Public Theater. Recently, we had to order all of our tickets for the 2014-2015 season. We got great seats at great prices on all the dates we wanted. I had the tickets mailed to my apartment. Imagine my dismay when I opened my mailbox to find our tickets in this envelope. My friend, Coco, suggested it could double as a skateboard ramp.

Special delivery.

Special delivery.

It rained buckets that day, but if my letter carrier had a beef with Mother Nature, was it necessary to direct the hostility on our theater tickets? This person had to shove our ticket envelope into my letterbox, and then they rolled and plunged two catalogs and that week’s issue of The New Yorker on top of the envelope. This took concentration and force. I told Milton that I sniffed the envelope and was relieved that it did not noticeably smell like urine.

There are days when I don’t feel like labeling tile samples, but I’m not going to take a hammer, smash them to smithereens, and send them off for display. By doing my job relatively whole assed, I can afford to attend the theater. As for my letter carrier, I’m unsure what to think other than I’m irked.

Irked!

Irked!

I wish he or she would invest in another way to express hostility, preferably far away from my mail, possibly at a more appropriate place like an active volcano. Occasionally, I have to junk discontinued tile samples. Maybe I should offer them to my letter carrier to throw when feeling rage.

At least our tickets are smiling.

Our tickets are smiling.

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55 responses to “Lame Adventure 426: Am I Being Tested?

  1. Love the tile colors. Enjoyed the stupidity. What a pleasure to hear about AC and MW. Glad my mailman is accommodating, although when he is on vacay the alternate stuffs my box with other peoples mail.

    Great story,

    R.

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    • Possibly, what my letter carrier needs is a vacation, R. She is always nice to me when we speak, and after she sees me, my mail will be pristinely delivered for about a two week window. Then, I guess her overall crankiness returns, I’m again heaped in with everyone that makes her sour and my theater tickets are shoved in my box with a vengeance. I just got a free subscription to New York Magazine. I’m not sure when it’s going to start, but I anticipate that could be something else that sets her off. Glad you liked the tale!

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  2. I recently quit a part-time job at a local private university. It was a very low level job essentially moving paperwork from point A to point B. I felt this position was very important and I did my best everyday.
    But what surprised me was the way I was treated by students and some of the professors. It was as if I had “stupid” written on my head and I was too dumb or too lazy because I was working in this job. It never occurred to anyone that I was working part-time because I was finished with my previous career.
    My point: I think every job is extremely important.
    From the housekeeping staff who keeps offices, hospitals and stores tidy to the person behind the checkout counter at Wal-Mart – everybody has a story.

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    • Kathleen, you have a great attitude. If you were my letter carrier, or a tile vendor, you sound like someone who rates having “genius” printed on her forehead. Thanks for visiting and for taking the time to comment. Welcome to Lame Adventures!

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  3. My daughter’s $5,000,000 grad photos were folded in half in our mailbox. Luckily, I fritzed out while ordering and then cancelled the first order. It arrived in the mail, payment and fold-free!!

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  4. So glad that you enjoyed Cabaret! I’d really wanted to see it, but I did not think far enough in advance as Milton did so by the time I looked into buying tickets, they were sold out.
    I heard that Michelle Williams just re-upped her contract into next year.

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    • That’s great news about MW, Jackie! I will share it with The Boss. I urge you to try to get tickets now, even if you can’t see it until February. It’s worth the wait. We were sitting in the center of the front mezzanine, row BB. It was a superb view, even better than row AA, which has a railing that’s about at eye level for people under 5’5″.

      Here’s a theater tip: Lincoln Center is reviving the The King and I on Broadway for the 2015 season. Memberships are closed, but you can get on the notification list for when they reopen. I urge you to do that. As a member you get first crack at the best seats before they go on sale to the general public and the cost is about a sweet $70 less. Milton and I have been all over the great deal like two cheap suits for years.

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  5. Thanks for the theatre review. I can only imagine how fabulous it would have been to actually be there! With regards to mail, we are lucky enough to have a large mail box that can be left with the lid up when larger items arrive. So far I don’t think anyone has tried to steal any of our riveting magazine subscriptions. Of course they are welcome to my university alumni magazine – talk about flogging a dead horse. I couldn’t wait to get out of there, and they still hound me for money. I guess that’s what I get for not moving on a regular basis.

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    • My mailbox is about the size of a toothbrush, Terri, which I realize does not help the situation. Now you’re giving me mailbox envy … But you can keep all those university almuni magazines. Every so often I still get one from NYUseless. Yes, that is the downside of being a nester.

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  6. Your mangled tickets reminded me of an episode of “Seinfeld” :

    George Costanza: Let me ask you something. What do you do for a living, Newman?
    Newman: I’m a United States postal worker.
    George Costanza: Aren’t those the guys that always go crazy and come back with a gun and shoot everybody?
    Newman: Sometimes.
    Jerry: Why is that?
    Newman: Because the mail never stops. It just keeps coming and coming and coming. There’s never a letup, it’s relentless. Every day it piles up more and more, and you gotta get it out, but the more you get out, the more keeps coming in! And then the bar code reader breaks! And then it’s Publisher’s Clearinghouse Day…!
    Jerry: All right, all right!

    And this one:

    [Newman and his girlfriend, in her convertible, stop in traffic]

    Newman: You see, my dear, all certified mail is registered… but registered mail is not necessarily certified.
    Model: [enchanted] I could listen to you talk about mail all day.
    Newman: Anything you wish… I’ll tell you a little secret about zip codes: They’re meaningless.

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    • That’s some impressive quoting, Melissa! I used to work with a guy who knew every episode of The Odd Couple verbatim. You and he should get together and entertain any survivors should the apocalypse happen. I’m sure the distraction would be welcome.

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      • I’m afraid I can’t take credit for remembering the entirety of that quote (hurrah for the interwebs), but I did have to memorize seven stanzas of “Hiawatha” once when I was in fifth grade as punishment for drawing a map of the Indian nations at my desk when I should have been doing math.

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        • That’s cruel and usual punishment from Back in the Day. Are those seven stanzas still burned in your brain?

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          • Not really. I had to recite it in front of the class, so it was just something I had to endure at the time. I don’t remember much fifth grade math either, so I was doubly screwed.

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            • I’m a big believer that humiliation doesn’t build character and yeah, it can mess with math skills, too. I am certain that teacher never won the Educator of the Year award.

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              • Actually, I really liked her. She read “Charlotte’s Web” to us, which I loved and still do. My fourth grade teacher, Mr. Akins, was the epitome of great teachers, though. Handsome, charming, with a great sense of humor. He taught us all the hula because he’d been to Hawaii the summer before. Only time I got an “A” in music. He called me “Eloise” because I had that book and I reminded him of her. Must have been because I looked like I’d combed my hair with an eggbeater. When school was over for the year I bawled like a baby. He went to Scotland that summer and sent me a postcard from Edinburgh. I still have it.

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                • I’m impressed that you can even recall your fourth grade teacher’s name! The further I get from those days, the deeper they sink inside the landfill in my head. But I do recall that there were times when my mop looked like it had been subject to styling by eggbeater, too.

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  7. My letter carrier drives a bright yellow Jeep and blares whatever music he is listening to for the whole neighborhood to enjoy while he tours the neighborhood. Some days are Creedence Clearwater Revival, some days are classical, some days are not recognizable. Take that big city letter carrier that abuses theater tickets! 🙂

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  8. Oh, smiling tickets! That’s one good way to look at it. That’s so cool you get to see theater in New York City. You get to see the best. As for your job, at least it pays for those tickets. My mail carrier is probably mad at me because I let my mail pile up. Most of it is junk you see!

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    • If I let my mail pile up, Amy, my letter carrier would beat me with rolled up catalogs. Yes, one of the benefits of living here is the culture. But I still prefer to eat with my hands whenever possible.

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  9. It’s quite possible the mail carrier has one of those jobs that makes s/he feel as if s/he is tossing years off a cliff, but that is still unacceptable in my opinion.

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  10. I like the smiling tickets, V. At least they didn’t melt! Also, too funny about the hexagonal tile sample. In no way does that resemble a 3″ x 3″ tile – much less two in different colors. It does look in the photo like they got the Latte Matte right! Great post as usual, friend. And I’m so glad you enjoyed Cabaret!

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    • That lone hexagonal shape tile took weeks to arrive and was packed in a box big enough to fit my head, Cathy. I liberally dropped the f-bomb and the word, idiots, that day. Upon receipt of that image of those three tiles, that vendor’s Big Boss Man sent us ten 3″ x 3″ square tiles, five in each color. I’m certain that tile struggle cost me further loss of brain cells. But life is a cabaret, right, old chum?

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  11. Well I do hope he overnighted it. That’s the least he could do… And now I will be singing that song in my head for several days. But I won’t make the mistake of letting Peter hear me out loud because he will then whistle it for weeks. I love the man but sometimes he’s too damned cheerful!

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  12. Christmas in July is a perfect example of how its the thought that matters …. and cheers to Milton’s choice. I recall seeing Joel Grey in an outdoor production of Caberet in the late 60s. Meanwhile, how close is Steel Grey Matte to Battleship Grey?

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  13. At least your tickets appear undamaged. They are in one piece and readable.

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  14. I need to get my ticket for Cabaret. Can’t wait to see it! And wow, your mail carrier has some serious aggression.

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  15. I take my job seriously, LA, and get called stubborn. So I continue, and take my job even more seriously. I don’t mind what I get called. As long as my job’s done well, I’m happy. I’m frustrated when others don’t take their jobs as seriously, and they end up putting spanners (or bent envelopes) into the works. Grrr.
    Anyway, never mind. Hope you get your tiles sorted out quickly, and Merry Christmas!

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    • Thanks Tom! In my place of employ, my colleague, Godsend, and boss, Elspeth, are two perfections, so at least when I am at The Grind, I’m cocooned with people as dedicated as myself. Most of our tile vendors are serious, too, which we appreciate. It’s just when I return to my casa de la shang-ri-la an open my letterbox that I most encounter the handiwork of indifferent hacks.

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  16. Every single time I read about your theater adventures I am envious.

    I think it might be a great idea, giving the tile to your letter carrier; this or bubble wrap. Everyone loves bubble wrap.

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    • That is a good point, Val, that bubble wrap can serve as a form of aggression release. Now if only I can get building management to install a roll near the bank of mailboxes in the vestibule for our letter carrier to pop with wild abandon. But, we’ll probably need to replace that roll weekly …

      The quality of theater here in New York City, both on and off Broadway, is one of the many reasons why I love living here. Milton and I are very lucky to have seen so many great shows over the years — and we’re always psyched about whatever we’re seeing next!

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  17. I think Forest Gump is our mailman. When you go to the box, you never know whose mail you’re goint to find there. I suppose you got your iron out and pressed the tickets into pristine condition. It would be embarassing to present one’s tickets in a curled or wrinkled condition. The usher might move you all the way to the nose-bleed section. Maybe that’s why I always get such crappy seats.

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  18. I always hate reading posts like this. To know that I was born and raised in NYC and to not experience it the way others did is always maddening. One day I’m just gonna go back, put on a big hat with a camera strapped to my neck, and enjoy NYC for what it is. Would love to go to the Met or take in the opera one day…

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  19. Cabaret sounds great, as does the regular theatre-going….tickets: Here, when out Times is crumpled, we iron it. Would the tickets bear ironing?

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  20. (Apologies, our Times)

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