This Curious Thing You Call Courtesy

The general lack of civility and courtesy in the world was apparent in the huge, surprised toothy grin of the woman that I held the door open for, before my own entry into Starbucks this morning. It got my mind, even in its only moderately caffeinated state, churning with speculation about what the future might hold for a southern gentleman like myself. I imagined a world where once common acts of selflessness, say something as simple as holding a door open, were so foreign to the populace that performing one was a strong first step in some twisted courtship ritual – a world in which my innate gallantry would be more curse than positive character attribute, and would lead to many a misunderstanding and the occasional escape-from-a-shotgun-wedding caper or two. If this morning’s recipient of my amiable nature was already living with one foot heavily planted in this new world, then perhaps her next move would be to follow me from Starbucks – just long enough to get a sense of where I spend my days. Only later would she return, with her father and cultish preacher character in tow, for a public ceremony few of us have yet to witness. That she currently still mostly resides in the world as we know it was evidenced by her decision to remain behind and wait for her own morning Joe. There will be no unintended impromptu unions before the barrel of a 12-gauge this afternoon my friends, at least not in Tribeca.

A View to a Kill

The view from our current apartment is pretty amazing. The Williamsburg Bridge, in all its rigged-to-not-collapse glory, stands triumphantly, perhaps even majestically, over The East River with the buzz of Manhattan illuminating it from behind. This same bridge aids in the J,M,Z lines’ efforts to shuttle me to and from Brooklyn to downtown everyday, as it carries the trains up and over the river, before diving back down into the island’s underbelly. In the evenings, if my wife is home already, I can see into our illuminated unit – the distance between me on that train and the unit itself is probably a good two football fields in length, and in reality you can’t make out much other than the four small hanging lamps over the kitchen counter, but the imagination can fill in the rest. Is Ariele busy cooking dinner? How exciting! Is that her putting the finishing touches on yet another amazing furniture restoration project? Can’t wait to see it! Oh wait, is there someone else in the house with her? Why is he wearing a mask? Is she being attacked right now – and in the most evil of ironies I’ve managed to grab the crawling city sewer that just happens to put me on the part of the bridge that allows me to see it go down at the very time that it does – sans cellphone, and with no way to alert anyone whatsoever? Can I get off the train, and scale down some maintenance staircase in time to prevent this from happening or will pulling the train emergency break ultimately leave me trapped here to watch the entire thing play out through squinted eyes, witness to a painfully real version of the first five minutes of a Law and Order SVU episode? I’ve considered taking the L train, which travels under The East River, further north, and offers no view of our apartment – which would only lessen the chances a bit that I’ll spend a few minutes of my nightly commute crafting that same basic narrative. It would add a considerable amount of time to my journey home though. Hmmm, maybe some mini-blinds are in order.

Ohhhh, you’d like that wouldn’t you?

I’ve many problems with The Devil. The Devil being Google. Like many, I ignore my gut instincts and continue using Gmail and a host of The Devil’s other products, even as it tries to insult/scare me into joining Google+ with tripe like this: Today, after ‘deleting forever’ a considerable amount of mail from of all places, the trash, Google hits me up with this message: “No conversations in the Trash. Who needs to delete when you have so much storage?!” I particularly like the question mark/exclamation mark combo there at the end. What conceivable reason not dripping in diabolical honey could they have for wanting me to never delete a single message? Lost revenue not made when I don’t expand my storage capacity? Lost revenue not made when advertisers can’t pry into my life from six months ago? Or maybe it is because they just don’t want another scolding from the CIA or FBI or black-ops outfit that is upset they didn’t passively-aggressively coerce me into saving everything ever written by/to me for their perusal at a later date. Probably the former, but not far from the latter.

Economic Stormulus

Given the large amount of goods being purchased in preparation for Irene here in NYC and elsewhere – and if statuses on Facebook are to be believed, that includes lots and lots of booze – I can’t help but ponder, since I see no storm yet from my perch some nineteen stories high, if maybe all of this hurricane hubbub is just a government ploy to induce rampant spending. I’m sure come Sunday my suspicions will be proven dead wrong, but those in the know might at the very least say, “never let a good disaster go to waste.” The emboldened headline on the NY section of the Huffington Post reads, NIGHTMARE SCENARIO – and I for one think, “Maybe I should go buy a few more sodas than normal.” Well played ‘the they.’ Well played.

The Hidden Bunny Enslavement Test

I’m lacking a solid impetus for one of my first thoughts from this morning, other than the baseline of my existence which is putting paranoid rationale behind seemingly trivial things from time to time. I took a short walk for coffee this morning, and began wondering if maybe autostereograms, the very ones made popular in the nineties, (you might know them as 3D pictures, or even Magic Eyes) are in fact some sort of test devised by ‘the them’ to decide who can and who can’t come. Come where you say? I’m not sure, perhaps the next inhabitable planet currently being constructed unbeknownst to us still dwelling on this slowly dying one. Or maybe where is here, and the act of coming along just means getting to stay alive to be a part of the future. As I let myself stew a bit on this out-of-nowhere five-thirty AM autostereogram theory, it occurred to me that many of my varying doctors over the years had them hanging in their offices. Perhaps they have been tasked with screening the population for more than just herpes – maybe they have been put in charge of dividing all of us into two groups: those who can see the cow in the field, and those who can’t. There may even be a third group which is: those of us who can’t see the cow in the field, but after being told what we are looking for, claim that we now can see that cow in the field, or spaceshuttle, or bunny. At the risk of outing myself (it’s a slim risk, because I’m sure they already know which group to which I belong) I’ll tell you I’ve never seen anything in a single one of them. Since ‘they’ are probably aware of this, I guess my existence, as I know it currently, is the result of not having been able to cross my eyes enough to reveal a pouncing tiger or humpback whale behind that mess of dots and colors. I made claims to having identified the hidden image when I was younger, even when I couldn’t, and the way I figure it – this means ‘they’ have classified me as easily susceptible to suggestion even in the face of zero evidence. I’ll be a good soldier for whatever cause ‘they’ might be planning, if indeed, I am already not.

Real Estate Agents Love The Z-Question

Long before me and the Mrs. started this round of home hunting, going back to the time before we even had ninety solid days of knowing each other, our apartment/condo/home hunting technique included the self-query: Is this a zombie-proof abode? Or, at the very least, a place zombies would find difficult to find, enter, then consume us? We don’t dwell on it, but we do ask each other and share our thoughts on it. Thing is, if you’ve read World War Z, you, like me, are now aware that the real problem with owning a zombie-fortified-dwelling is keeping it a secret from non-zombies with no place left to go. As such, our question should really be: Is this potential roost something we can keep under wraps from the gaggles of morons who didn’t have the foresight we possess to prepare for the almost certain era of flesh-eaters? Before you dismiss the idea of zombie-days altogether, and brand this post less relevant to you than others (thanks for reading them by the way), google ‘zombie ants’ or ‘CDC zombie preparedness’ and get back to me.

Poisoned Drinking Straw

My attempts at being responsibly green are easily shelved every time I take a drinking straw from a dispenser. Theaters, burger joints, sporting events – if theirs are the unwrapped variety it matters not. Germs? Simple germs have nothing to do with my actions. I always press down once, remove and discard the first, and then press it again and use the next straw in line. For most of my life I’ve done this just in case someone took one straw,  then laced it with a deadly drug, or even a less-than-deadly drug that only causes immediate pooping or some other form of moderate discomfort, and finally shoved this newly poisoned drinking straw back into the box for some poor soul – some poor soul that isn’t on to that ol’ chestnut.

Remember Me? Never.

It doesn’t matter how often they ask; I will never ever click the “Remember Me” box offered up by any of the sites I’ve already given my virtual soul. For fear that one last click is some sort of free pass for them to use my oh so valuable information as they please. Mother’s maiden name? Sure! Convenience of not having to enter my name each time I visit your site? Go F yourself.