Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Well, I never...

Making small talk at a work Xmas party this past weekend---

Me: So what part of town do you live in?

Her: I live out in the Avenues.

Trying to make small talk I asked if she ever went out to a certain coffee place, pretty much the only coffee place in the Avenues that's worth its salt, at 43rd.

Her: Oh, I live closer to 19th.

Me: Oh, yeah, okay. You know it's really good coffee, if you're into that sort of thing. They bake on site the most amazing muffins, scones, and soda bread. I don't even live out there, and I make the trek out sometimes. It's like the spot.

Her: I don't wait in lines on this side of the city.

(You don't what now?)

Her: I'll wait in lines over on this side of the hill, but not out where I live.

Me: Well I don't like to wait in lines EVER, really, for anything, but the raspberry corn muffins are amazing as is the coffee. If you like good coffee, then it can be worth it. (Plus, when did I mention there were lines?)

I think her eyes glazed over at that point which was my cue to stop talking.

The sort of 'I don't go north of 14th Street' Manhattan malarky came to mind when having this aborted attempt at chat. A dear, old colleauge of mine back in NYC once told me that she never ventured north of 14th. Initially, I thought she was joking. I guess she's never visiting me in my neighborhood up at 80th, then, I thought. And what about visiting Central Park? Surely, she'd like to be in some of the only decent green space in town? I guess not.

I find it a bit funny that people seem to make arbitrary distinctions between certain areas of town. I won't even get into the subset of those who don't ever leave San Francisco, or won't set foot in Brooklyn. I mean I get not wanting to visit areas that don't feel particularly safe, but to snobbily say you won't 'set foot' or 'wait in lines' in a certain area of town sounds preposterous.

Back when I was a young'un in the late '80s/early '90s, there were parts of San Francisco that I didn't feel comfortable visiting because of potential safety issues, but, now in large part due to the proliferation of the 'luxery condo' lifestyle that seems to be de rigueur, those sort of 'no go' areas are ever shrinking. Currently, if I don't feel comfortable in an area of town it's probably because I'm not posh enough to blend in with the surroundings.


  1. People are just strange. I consider myself a spook sometimes, Bea. Since I don't get out much, I sometimes say crazy (off topic) things and I think I can't believe that's coming out of my mouth. I'm really not crazy. My daughter tells me to self edit. Once when she told me that, we were waiting in line at a store. When we got to the cash register, I looked at the young male cashier, and said, I'd like to tell you my life story. My daughter nearly dropped to the floor, "Mom"!!!! We had a good laugh, but the cashier looked dumbfounded.

    1. I feel like I can be super goofy at times. I never used to have social anxiety, but I do now occasionally. When that happens, all manner of silly things shoot out of my mouth.

      If I were a cashier, I'd enjoy hearing all about your life!

    2. Ha. It never got past the statement which was for my daughter's benefit, or horror.

  2. Sigh.
    People are weird. And snobs deprive themselves much more often that they could possibly accept. Food snobs/wine snobs/book snobs/location snobs...

    1. I used to tend bar in Hell's Kitchen, NYC. One of my dear regulars once told me that she 'didn't move to Manhattan, so she could visit friends in Brooklyn'. That was some blunt talk, to be sure!

  3. I have places I won't go because I don't want to drive there. And yes, it's arbitrary. I think we get in our comfort zones and don't want to stray from them. But give us a good enough incentive...

    1. I hear you on the no driving thing. I will, however, take the bus/train/subway/hot air balloon for excellent baked goods.


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