General

Sorry, I Don't Speak Mandarin

Sorry, I Don't Speak Mandarin

I offer, and they seem, silently, glad of my help. But there are three return addresses they point to on the well-folded, well-creased envelope they thrust in my direction. One in Queens, one in Brooklyn, and one on Lafayette Street. I direct them to the latter. It’s closer. But they don’t want that.  

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Imagine You’re Proust. A few words on cookies.

I tried a Madeleine the other day, not from a diner, mind you, but a reputable French bakery. This was after a treat of a posh-lunch at Le Grenouille with my friend Anita, and an almost sublime heaven taste of a meal. I’d thought the final touch of that lemon cookie would send me bolting down 52nd Street to find a pad and pencil and start a literary hadj that would wind me up somewhere grand. But I was, in truth, too full to bolt just then. So I thought I’d try a little later.

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Guiding the Lost in New York City

Mostly, I’ve given up being helpful. I have stopped trying to guide the lost, with their noses iPhone-glued on street corners, wondering which way the blue dot is trending, because their answer is usually a “no, I’m fine” growl. Me and my machine, we've got it covered. Also men, of course, feel very threatened by a stranger who might suggest their sense of direction is wussy. So I stopped. For the most part.

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Self Storage

Driving south into rural Maryland the four-lane highway, dotted with traffic lights, cleaves through strip malls offering the usual rural services in a recovering economy: bail bonds, pawn brokers, mortgage re-financing, pay day loans, and self- storage.  It was the latter—sitting with my foot on the brake at a really long red light—that caught my attention.

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