Lame Adventure 434: Encounters with Heroes and Orifices on the Street in the City

Back in the day, when I was a relatively young buck-ette barely into my thirties I was gainlessly employed as a wage slave in broadcast news. One of my more memorable colleagues during those years of indentured servitude was Ernestine Frobish*. Ernestine was a classic jaded New Yorker, sixteen years my senior. Not many people called Ernestine her first name. She was Frobish. Her natural disposition was sour, but once you got to know her, she was pleasant and witty. Every so often she would share a pearl of Froboshian wisdom. My favorite gem:

Frobish: If someone’s an asshole at seven, odds are good they’ll be an asshole at seventy.

Hold onto that pearl.

Fast forward to the present, about a week ago. After I’m cut loose from The Grind, located in Tribeca, I hightail over to the East Village where I’m meeting my bud, Milton, to see an off-Broadway play.

Makers of Ambien beware: Ingmar Bergman's masterpiece reimagined as a 3 1/2 hour play.

Makers of Ambien beware: Ingmar Bergman’s masterpiece reimagined as a 3 1/2 hour play.

Whether I take the subway or hotfoot my way east, it will take the same amount of time to reach the theater. It was an off day from my spin bike riding. I welcomed power walking through rush hour pedestrian traffic.

I am so fleet of foot!

I am so fleet of foot!

As I am deftly weaving my way through the throng, I make unintentional shoulder contact with a woman thirty-five years my junior and thirty-five pounds my senior. The g-force of the impact is so significant I bounce off her. I am  airborne. My feet are off the ground. I am one with the pigeons!

"Dream on sister, you're not one of us."

“Dream on sister, you’re not one of us.”

Alas, I am not of avian descent. The street is packed with stores, all with plate glass windows that will shatter if a human flies into one at warp speed — my exact destiny. Fortunately, instead of crash landing through a storefront and marring both the display and my facial structure, two millennials of Japanese descent come to my rescue. This miracle couple catches me ensuring that I make a soft landing on my feet as opposed to a thunderously loud and very painful Fred Flintstone-style imprint though exploding glass. The woman who made the initial contact with my shoulder apologizes profusely. I, in turn, thank my saviors. It was a very civil and polite exchange to an event that lasted seconds, felt surreal and ended happily for all involved.

Ten minutes later, I join Milton completely forgetting about my flying episode moments earlier. I am fixated on his blue wristband, a wristband needed to gain entry into the theater, matching his blue water bottle cap. Life proceeds as usual.

Color coordinated Milton.

Color coordinated Milton.

On Sunday, there was the People’s Climate March. It was heavily promoted on the subway, in the news and even on trees in my neighborhood.

Upper West Side tree doing its part for the Peoples Climate March.

Upper West Side tree doing its part for the People’s Climate March.

I wanted to participate as a show of support because I believe that global warming is an even greater threat to human survival than terrorism. On the other hand, if I were held hostage and about to be decapitated, I would revise that thinking in a nanosecond. I had an ushering gig on PCM day so I could not participate in the march. The play I ushered was Bootycandy, an outrageous assembly of skits about being black and gay. I enjoyed that ushering gig immensely. And I felt guilty about that considering that the planet is dying.

The theater, Playwrights Horizons, is located on 42nd Street, which was directly along the route of the march. Times Square is always crowded, but it was even more crowded with an additional 310,000 people marching in the middle of it.

People and puppets marching.

People and puppets marching.

I knew that 42nd Street would be a zoo so I left my sanctum sanctorum earlier than usual. After exiting the subway, I walked down the busy avenue at half-speed, consciously avoiding bouncing off any oncoming shoulders or tripping over tots in strollers. As I passed a seemingly innocuous woman about my age, over fifty and under death, walking with a man, probably her husband, she gave me the hairy eyeball.

Seemingly Innocuous Woman: Look at her! Where does she think she’s going, that [insert c-bomb]!

She called me the word that rhymes with punt. I didn’t make contact with her, but she was spewing venom at me? Why, did she suffer Tourette syndrome? For a flash, I irrationally wondered if she might be heading to my play. She wasn’t. I concluded that she was a bitter bat with no filter. I remembered Frobish’s pearl of wisdom and looked on the bright side: I didn’t attend second grade with that asshole, and hopefully, I won’t encounter her again when she’s seventy.

*Yes, this is a Lame Adventures name.

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60 responses to “Lame Adventure 434: Encounters with Heroes and Orifices on the Street in the City

  1. I enjoyed this very much. Thank you for putting a smile on my face this morning!

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  2. Yes. 7 or 70. Luckily you kept the good karma flowing by not giving her the (expletive laden) adverb verb combination she apparently deserved. As usual you proved you’re a better person than most of us. Or at least me.

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  3. Life sure funny sometimes, for every jerk there’s a good hearted person. Oh well, a little Golden Rule helps get me through the day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I got very lucky, Lou: I encountered thee goodhearted people. Even the woman who slammed into my shoulder was very sweet and sincere. Things only went into freefall when I encountered the boomer born under the astrological sign of Hostile.

      Like

  4. Much of this seems like a routine day in NYC .. but gotta love the opening Froboshian wisdom.

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  5. Wonder how long the flyer for the PCM will stay affixed to the tree, before the petroleum-generated tape will fail, and the flyer will flutter to the ground, to be washed into the storm drain and out to sea, where, slowly, the ink will mix with the sea water etcetera etcetera…

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  6. That was good. Thanks.

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  7. I’m so glad you didn’t proceed thru the plate glass. That would be a very lame adventure.

    In my thinking, there is an addendum to the Frobishism.
    “If someone’s an asshole at seven, odds are good they’ll be an asshole at seventy.” …and their offspring will be assholes

    There is another climate march going on you might find interesting. There is a core group who started March 1 this year from LA. Their goal is to reach DC November 1. Their route (http://climatemarch.org/why-march-1/route-1/) takes them 3000 miles. When they go through each community, they are joined by others in support. They came through Iowa City. I joined them for a 3 mile walk that day where many other events were planned. There were about 150 joiners that day. Currently, they are in northwest OH nearing Toledo.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Can’t account for some people. Fortunately, there are more who will catch you when you fall, than those who will push you down.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I accidentally rolled a stroller into the back of someone’s foot one time in a store. I immediately began apologizing profusely because I am sooooo completely certain that it hurt and it was truly my fault as well as an accident. The lovely woman proceeded to call me a “Punt.” The apologizing ended right there. “Bitch, it was an accident. Next time, maybe not.”

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  10. I took a fly one time here in our downtown when wearing athletic shoes and walking on a perfectly flat cement sidewalk, tripping over nothing and sailing horizontally past two storefront windows before landing on my feet. (My friend Bettielou (commenting above) and my friend R (hasn’t commented yet) didn’t see me, but I often wonder at the impression (visual only) I made on those inside the stores. (I think I’ve told this story here before — but, to make a point….)

    As Melanie says, fortunately there are those who will catch you when you fall, and that is a wondrous thing. Possibly the second woman was demented? Her reaction to you surely was.

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    • That visual of you doing tripping and sailing sounds like a visual straight out of Loony Tunes, Samantha, but I know I wouldn’t have laughed. I’m more inclined to be the first one to dial 9-1-1. I’m very glad that you only died of embarrassment. Yes, you’ve nailed her reaction! Demented is a spot on description!

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  11. Well what the hell with her?! And for pete’s sake, who the hell uses that word?!
    I had a pit of a stomach turn reading “cut loose from the Grind”. I thought you meant for good and while it is the Grind, it’s still an income.

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  12. Thanks for sharing your tales of NYC life. I don’t have those kind of stories from Calgary, but then again I don’t get out much. I have had experiences in the car where people seem to be angry with me for no discernible reason. Thankfully with the windows up I don’t take the brunt of it, and I assume they are the problem, not me. Yup. That’s what I’m going with.

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    • Road rage is something I fortunately steer clear of, Terri. My rage of choice occurs on the subway. Twice last week, on my way into The Grind, when my express train pulled into the station where I connect with the local that takes me the rest of my way, a local was waiting in the station. But, when my express train opened the doors and the passengers spilled out to make the connection, the conductor on the local closed his doors. To repeat, this happened not, but twice. And with the same local train conductor. There was a lot of cursing at him on the express side of the track. I wanted to hit the MTA with a pain and suffering lawsuit.

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  13. Frobish has a nice ring to it! I had some guy verbally accost me in the produce section of the grocery. I’ll blog that episode sometime. Frobish’s commentary definitely applied. 7-70!

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  14. I’m so glad you’re okay after your flying episode. Wow, what a ride that was! I’m sure it was awful, but it was fun to read your description. Oh, to be one with the birds, even for a nanosecond. That woman doesn’t deserve to breathe. Okay, that was severe, but how mean. I’m proud of you for recalling Frobish to guide you.

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    • Frobish was my personal zen master, Amy, usually with a Capri cigaret hanging out of her mouth and a scowl on her face.

      I was very happy to find myself ensconced in that cluster of millennials. They must have all had an aunt they like a lot.

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  15. Wow, you sure pack a lot of adventure into your day! Maybe Frobish’s Pearl of Wisdom will become as popular a theory as Schrodinger’s Cat. 🙂

    (And, I watched a scene from “Bootycandy” on the NYT online and thought it was hysterical. I’m jealous.)

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    • I think Schrodinger’s Cat theory is safe, Melissa, but I am happy to spread Frobish’s Pearl of Wisdom via this illustrious site which is bottom heavy with educational component, or maybe, gas.

      Bootycandy had many laugh out loud as well as squirm moments. It’s a pretty daring production — perfect for New York.

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  16. So much to comment on.

    Even I knew that ‘Ernestine Frobish’ was an LA name. People are born with names like that, sure–but they don’t make it out of their twenties without a legal name change.

    Frobish’ advice, however, is sound. I’ve contemplated that very issue, but typically from the opposite end of the person’s lifespan. When thinking of mean old people, it seems we sometimes accept age as a possible reason for their nastiness. While it’s certainly true that many of the problems associated with aging are real sources of hardship, pain and frustration, I think it’s generally true that an old dick was once a young dick.

    Speaking of genitalia, I’ve always found the word cunt to be distasteful (except, and I know this is supreme hypocrisy, when British dudes call one another that) and ugly. It strikes me as a little pathetic, and more than a little degrading–to her, not you.

    I’m really glad the woman who nailed you apologized. I can totally relate to that, because–and I say this in all seriousness–I am an oaf. I have to be very careful in crowds, and oh my God, any semi-confined situation (such as a room) where people are holding drinks.

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    • I came so close to mentioning you in that footnote about Frobish’s name, Smak! Sooooooooooo close! But I wasn’t sure if you’d come around since I know you have a life outside the confines of the blogosphere.

      I saw my dad lose his filter the closer he got to the end, when he reached his eighties. He was on many meds, he was like a Walgreen’s on feet, those meds that kept him going destroyed his tastebuds, his wife and most of his peers were dead, he lost much of his hearing and his once robust physical strength gave way to exhaustion. So, I understood why there was little bounce in his bungee and if no one knew him at seven or seventy when he was still a nice guy, I could see how someone might think he was a cranky dick in his late eighties. Because, at that point he kinda/sorta was (but as his youngest I was still allowed glimpses of that nice guy). So, I’m inclined to cut the elderly a break.

      I don’t like to drop the c-bomb, and I agree with you, when the Brits (and the Irish) use it when referring to their fellow man, it’s less offensive and frankly, almost comical. That woman firing one at me was very pathetic. It had no relevance!

      That twenty-something woman who accidentally air-lifted me was truly bend over backward responsible and kind. If you must get nailed in the shoulder by someone young with heft, she rates a gold medal.

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  17. Trash and treasures lace this episode of LA. Who uses that word?? I admire your restraint and the wisdom of Frobish, excellent name.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Brilliant wisdom from Ernestine Frobish. Put that on a magnet for sale and you can retire from The Grind.

    I remember seeing that Ingmar Bergman movie and all I remember about it was how loooong it was. *yawn*

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    • Frobish’s brilliant wisdom indeed lives on in Lame Adventures, Jackie! She’d probably snarl, phlegmy cough and love it.

      FYI: I’ve never seen the Bergman film. I only saw the TV series (cut and adapted into the film). The series was terrific. The play lacked the emotional impact of that series. But, Ben Brantley in the New York Times gave it a rave prompting Milton to email me: “It is easy to make a show like this sound more interesting than it actually is. I hate critics.”

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  19. Damn. And I thought *I* was angry. She needs either some nookie or a pumpkin spice latte. Likely both.

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  20. Oh V you do not EVER deserve the c-word. That karma punt hurtling toward that lady is going to be a doozy. Just sayin.’

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  21. Love Frobish!!!

    I ran into the demented woman in Philly on Saturday at least six times. My friend Judy has a remote button to a miniature speaker she strategically places among her inventory, when you press the button, hidden in a pocket of your jeans, the speaker emits a sharp, “Asshole!”.

    I could have used that button a dozen times on Saturday as the mob mishandled and broke my inventory.

    Glad you landed on your feet!

    Great story!

    R.

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    • Thanks R. Your Saturday sure sounds like it was a Lame Adventure of The Worst Order. I hope Judy owns the patent to that voice throwing Asshole button. It could be the 21st century equivalent of that runaway success from the Seventies, the Pet Rock, but a lot more practical in day to day life circa 2014.

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  22. My grandfather always said the older the people get they more they become themselves. I’ve stuck with that and don’t try to change people. And if people are jerks I don’t bother with them one bit. A waste of time and energy. Glad you weren’t hurt during the pedestrian collision.

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    • I think that Frobish and your grandfather would be on the same page about people, but she just used a more New York-style turn of phrase to make a similar point. That was definitely the second cousin of collisions impact-wise, but at least everyone in the ensemble cast was very pleasant and no one needed an ambulance.

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  23. Aww . . . fall is in the air and wanna-be linebackers are taking football to the streets. It’s a good thing you didn’t have an over-sized pretzel tucked under your arm, she might have mistaken it for a football, slammed you to the sidewalk, and done an extended victory dance over your crumpled body. Perhaps I could send Milton a striped shirt, whistle, and some yellow flags. He could follow you through the streets and penalize offenders for unnecessary roughness. BTW-that last play is still under review.

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    • Oh yes, America’s favorite currently in the dog-house pastime … If Milton is the ref re-watching the video of what happened Russell, you can be quite certain that he’d be looking at the lighting, editing and camera angle as well as on-field performance. So, yeah, that could very likely delay the verdict on his review.

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