Archive for May, 2014

Bus Trip, Halitosis, and NYPD Hyjinx

Posted: May 27, 2014 by S. Trevor Swenson in Uncategorized

Before we get started…

I can just hear my best friend and editrix extraordinaire; Ms Gow telling me “That title has got to go” after I read this piece to her.  I will probably have to use my literary line item veto unless she can come up with a more clever name for this essay.  The Gow makes me read every piece aloud prior to her reading and putting the editorial scalpel to my brain child.  This is both a good and bad practice.  It’s good, in that by reading my work aloud I can catch my own grammatical and spelling mistakes.  Plus I am able to mimic little voices and accents for her, slip in comedic timing and emphasis…both of which I do a fair job at.  Of course, this is the double edged sword, as potential readers don’t have the benefit of my various voices or timing. Regardless, The Gow is my best friend and I love to make her laugh.
Today was my last day off prior to a new work-week and I had some errands to run.  Being a world class procrastinator, I generally end up shifting my to-do list to my last day of freedom.  This is one of the  many reasons my home is in a state, my bills are often late and I’m generally pretty stressed out.  What can I say?  A nap almost always sounds infinitely more inviting than getting a money order and stamp for my credit card bill.  Yet every month as I put that payment into a postal receptacle and pray that it arrives on or before the due date, I promise myself that next month I will mail it earlier.
So, as I said, I had some errands to do today.   I boarded the M60 bus to make a payment and fill a prescription, and as always Murphy’s Law of Public Transportation was in full effect.  Actually, Murphy has a few laws where public transportation is concerned.  The two most common are:
1. If a person is late, ill or needs to use the bathroom the subway or bus will take longer to arrive, and there will doubtlessly be some dramedy in traveling from Points A to B
2. If the weather is especially uncomfortable…poring rain, freezing cold, oppressive heat and humidity…the bus or train will take approximately twice as long to arrive
Since I wasn’t late, didn’t need to pee and it wasn’t particularly cold out, the bus came rather quickly.  I boarded and grabbed a seat facing forward.  (The NYC buses and trains have their seats facing in all directions to ensure that everyone gets an unpleasant view or motion sickness.)  Twenty seconds after taking my seat a horrifying scent reached my nostrils.  My brain did a Google search of particularly unpleasant odors and came up with “bad breath”.  I don’t know why, but I seem to be exceptionally sensitive to objectionable bodily scents.  B.O., Ass-Gas and Bad Breath effect me like kryptonite. 
I quickly pegged the fellow sitting in front of me as the culprit.  What was interesting was that this passenger was also facing forward in his seat and mumbling in to his cell phone (or talking to himself…it has become more difficult to differentiate in this age of mobile phones)  What this meant was his breath was SO repugnant and powerful, that it was leaving his mouth, making a hairpin turn and hitting my nose like a prize fighters Sunday punch.   I turned my head to avoid the onslaught, but it was no good.   This wasn’t a run-of-the-mill yucky breath…this guy needed surgery and a Haz-Mat team. My breakfast was looking to make a break for it. I was amazed that his phone hadn’t melted or imploded. I pulled my scarf over my mouth and nose and looked around for another seat.  Finally after a couple stops someone vacated a seat 10 feet away from The Halitosis Kid.  I pounced, shoving an old woman with a cane out of the way.  Sorry Granny, survival of the fittest.  I took the seat and then the whole thing became amusing. 

I never realized before today that watching others react to objectionable smells is really entertaining.  A middle aged fellow took my former seat first and opened up a newspaper.  I watched as he first caught a whiff, he made an expression like Robert De Niro before he laughs and then looked around for an escape.  I swear he started to read the emergency exit instructions of how to pull the handle below the window, push the pane out and crawl out of the bus.  I couldn’t say I blamed him.  This guy opted to refold his newspaper and move 20 feet into the back of the bus and stand.  I caught his eye on the way back, and in the camaraderie of the NYC commuter, I said softly  “Nasty breath huh?”  He grimaced and mumbled “Je-sus Christ” in agreement. The next victim was a big and brassy inner city black lady. She sat down and sure enough within 20 seconds uttered “God-DAMN” and started waving her hand in front of her mouth. 

Just before my stop I passed the local police station; the 114th Precinct.  Across from the station is a bridge and there was an accident scene.  I don’t know how, but this guy’s car had leapt the curb and smashed head first into the side of the bridge.  From the angle or the accident and the road that it happened on, this guy must have been the world’s worst driver or he’d decided that it was prudent to imbibe 5 or 6 martinis before embarking on Mr Toad’s Wild Ride.  Right in front of the police station….  That is something my New England father would call a “Pisser”.  I’m willing to bet that given the proximity to the cop shop that the NYPD cut their response time in half and probably attended to this accident in under 40 minutes.  As the bus slowed to pass by the accident I noticed that some cop had put a boot on another cops Honda Accord parked right in front of the station for a goof.  I actually smiled and envied the cops.  The potential for practical jokes as a law enforcement officer must be great.
I arrived at my destination and took care of business.  The traffic light in front of my pharmacy was broken and was blinking yellow.  I should note here that drivers in my neighborhood are generally confused as to the meaning of the different color traffic lights.  Green seems to mean slow down, Red is generally optional if you catch it in it’s first 45 seconds and yellow signifies confusion.   A police car approached the lights driving very rapidly.  It’s lights and siren were having a Grand Mal seizure.  The other commuters made way for the Blue Meanies.  The police car sped by me at what I guessed was around 80 MPH and came to an abrupt halt at a bank two blocks down the street.  Hmmm  a bank robbery?  This might be entertaining.  This was not the case however.  One of the officers got out of the car slowly, went in an used the ATM.  I grinned.
Maybe I should have applied to be a police officer like I had planned when I was 7.
Those of you who know me and read my nuggets of wit and wisdom on facebook are all too aware that I have little to no patience for oblivious and self important text messagers plodding along on public sidewalks, paying no attention to anyone or anything else and forcing the rest of us to play an involuntary game of Marco Polo or Blindman’s Bluff.  I am also easily annoyed by people who feel the need to inflict their banal cell phone conversations upon the rest of us at a publicly unacceptable volume in places like bars, busses, subways, coffee shops and doctors offices.  You know, the rest of us don’t need to hear your break up. your anger toward your children or significant other…In fact, there is little to nothing that you’re saying on your Samsung life-support system that the rest if us need or want to hear. 
Thanks to my friend Ralph, I have come up with a positive and hopefully effective counter tactic for this behavior. Ralph just turned 90 years old, and I count my accessibility to his wit and wisdom among my many blessings.
So, from now on I shall open up whatever book I am reading at the moment, start to read and plow into whatever texter is hogging the sidewalk without bothering to look up and share with the rest of us.  Upon impact I will look up at them and apologize. “I’m SO very sorry, I wasn’t paying attention to where I was going or what I was doing, and on a busy sidewalk no less.  Will you please forgive me?”
For those inflicting their conversation on the rest of us, I will simply crack open my book and start reading aloud…in an ever so slightly irritating and unacceptable volume.  When they inevitably stop and glare at me, I will again apologize.  “Oh, I’m sorry, you didn’t really want to listen to me rambling on did you?  Sorry, I will bring it down to a volume that doesn’t bother others.”  The only trouble with this is that I have a good voice and great taste in reading material,  so people might actually want me to continue reading them a story.
It’s great to have found a positive and non violent solution to this issue.

God’s Questionable Sense of Humor

Posted: May 24, 2014 by S. Trevor Swenson in General, Life, Me & Mine
God has a funny sense of humor.  Ever had a friend who laughs when you’re getting pissed off about something, or at some small yet entertaining misfortune?  That’s my relationship with Heavy G…The Almighty. 
I left home for the second day in a row, slightly late for work…Only 5-10 minutes, but late nonetheless. Now I am generally a prompt person and prompt people take being on time rather seriously.  I have internal nightmares of my employers discussing my termination for being late 2 days in a row.  For those of you who are kind enough to read my blog regularly a lot of this will seem familiar to you, so please bear with me.
I arrived at Dunkin Donuts as I was running too late for my ever important second cough of cuppy.  Inevitably I got the DD’s staff member with the lazy eye and the severe case of coffee order dyslexia.  The name on her tag is “Minuti”  which in her native India means “Vengeful Goddess of Incompetence”
Me: “Hi.. Small…coffee,  a little milk  and two Splenda” I said clearly, and enunciated the important bits.  I don’t know why I bother.
She looked up at me…or perhaps to the woman to my left given her lazy eye’s direction and got every…single…part…of my coffee order wrong.
“Large coffee, cream and 3 sugars” she told the staff member serving the hot joe.
“N-o-o-o-o” I said emphatically. I repeated my order and afterwards muttered “You know…the same thing I have been ordering from you for over 7 years”
I’ll spare you the 5 minutes of getting my difficult coffee order to resemble what I wanted.  My friend Ruprecht has a theory that they see me approaching daily and perform the Marx Brothers routine on purpose.  At this point I wouldn’t be surprised.
I boarded my train and according to the clock in the car I was 6 minutes late….OK…this is acceptable.
Sure enough Heavy G was conspiring with Mr Murphy, that fun fellow with that funny law.  The station I get off at to work to work is 49th St.  There was an announcement at the station before this that my train would be “Going Express” and “Skipping 49th St station”   OK.  I exited at 57th and waited.  5 minutes later another train pulled into the station and I boarded it.  “This train will be making express stops…the next stop will be Times Sq-42nd St”.  I exited again.   Four more trains…the same thing.  I started to become dubious.
Finally I boarded a train which announced “Next Stop….49th St”   Now we’re cooking with gas.   The doors closed and an announcement came over the intercom…you guessed it….”We will be bypassing 49th street due to signal problems”  Well, now I was committed to a trip to the ninth ring of Hell…42nd St.
I saw as we passed by 49th street station that HUNDREDS of people were awaiting a train to come their way.  It made me wish that there was some kind of …oh I don’t know..some kind of futuristic “tele-phonic” device to “call” the station at 49th street and make an announcement to the commuters waiting there that they might want to make other arrangements.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we had that kind of technology at our disposal?  If only…
I got to Times Sq Station and luckily the MTA ( Metropolitan Transit Authority) was all over this situation with over 50 employees standing around in hard hats and orange vests looking annoyed and doing…bupkis .
Oh God…you silly motherfucker.

Day Off

Posted: May 24, 2014 by S. Trevor Swenson in General, Home, Life, Me & Mine


Today was my day off…and it was a good one. One important factor involved in this was that my best friend  ( The World Famous Gow) was in town visitinv  I slept late with my BFF; The Gow and my cat Bella and leisurely drank two cups of coffee while thinking about how to squander the day.  Staring me in the face in my chamber of filth was a pile of laundry that the EPA was stating to take an interest in.  “I need to do fluffy-foldy today,” I told The Gow, and she was game to help me, which is one of the reasons I adore her so much.  The Gow wanted Indian food.  During her visits to NYC I have turned her on to both Thai and Indian cuisine.  For a person who has a low spice tolerance, she is quite the trooper about trying new things. We had a quick huddle and decided to have Indian food ( “and get your own Nan bread…” the Gow informed me prior to ordering) delivered.
I called our local Curry Castle and managed to refrain from doing my Ghandi impression while ordering lunch… Having an unamused restaurant host or waiter blow his nose in my chicken vindaloo isn’t worth the poor-impulse-control-and-slightly-racist chuckle.   I shoved my laundry into two machines.  For once I didn’t overstuff the washers.  Sometimes I jam so many clothes into a washing machine that they came out dry after the wash cycle.  I even separated my whites and colors as Bella decided last week that an expensive white bed-spread was a great place to ralph up a hairball.  Thanks Kitty.
My roommate came home with a Toys R Us bag in tow as I was heading out to throw my wash into the dryer. My eyes lit up immediately and I asked hopefully, ” Didja get me a toy?  Huh?  Huh?  didja?”  She smiled and answered in the negative.  She had bought a toy for her nephew in Brazil when she visits next month. I smiled back muttering “Fuck your nephew you selfish cunt” and stomped off to the laundramat. I wanted a toy goddamnit. Luckily the Indian food arrived after I got home and we had an amazing meal. We’d ordered lamb, lamb, chicken and two nan breads.  One for each of us.  Gow picked up one of the nans and smelled it exclaiming “Whew!!”  “Is that the garlic nan I ordered”  She said “yes” and sure enough it smelled so strong of garlic that I had no doubt there were Counts in Transylvania who were reaching for the air freshener.  The meal was delicious.
After lunch we ran back to the Laundromat and folded everything up neat as a pin.  The Gow was of the opinion that my standard procedure of washing my laundry and dumping it on my bed afterwards is not particularly conducive to a tidy bedroom.  “But, it’s clean” I explained. “Honey, you exhaust me” she replied with a patient sigh for the first of what would surely be hundreds of times during her visit.  I smiled and said “I know”
We fluffed and folded everything while I pointed out various articles from the Scotty Collection and made commentary about which were my favorites. “Like these undies”….”I don’t like these…can’t wait til they wear out”.   Gow smiled and nodded much in the fashion of a parent or guardian indulging the non-stop ramblings of a small child.
After laundry and lunchie came the day off tradition of the afternoon nap….and it was good.