Stories to touch us with kindness

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Cookie Monster and Count von Count. Photo: JH.

Monday, June 21, 2021, the longest day of the year. The summer solstice. I always think of it as the day that stays light the longest. A child’s description that has remained with me all my life. 

It was very warm over the weekend although not particularly muggy around these parts (Upper East Side by the River), and very pleasant at nighttime. 

The city was very quiet. I live in a “quiet” neighborhood, but there are always people around and about; parents with small children, young people with each other. Then there are the walkers, the runners, the joggers, all ages, sizes and types. And of course cars passing through occasionally.

It’s not one mass but instead many individuals sometimes the only one on the street, but steadily moving by. I love watching them from my terrace. Every one of them is carrying their own story. I sometimes speculate – especially when I see a couple with child or children. Life goes on.

Reading the paper. I look at the New York Post every dayIt’s what’s left of the “gossip” press although the stuff today is mainly stories about how horrible we are to each other, to put it gently. Nevertheless, there are always some items or stories to touch us with kindness. It’s about the neighborhood(s).

Last week, there were signs on many lamp posts on East End Avenue about a “Lost Dog.” A sweet, gentle looking brown and white mutt named Indie. “Last seen on Riverside Park on the Upper West Side. Call if you see: …” My neighborhood is as far East as the “last seen” neighborhood is far West. 

These posters really get to me. I immediately wonder if the dog were off-the-leash (which many people think is “cool”). Then if the dog gets killed in traffic, it’s the dog’s own fault. Not responsible and anything you want. 

The animals — like the children — require our attention at all times when outside in this teeming metropolis. It’s also called responsibility. Anyway, I can leave the rant because whatever led to his wandering (a careless owner?), we learned he was on a trip traveling east (through the Midtown Tunnel!!) to Long Island City, trying to find his home. Someone saw him and called for help. The video is a little scary watching the poor pup running. You can only imagine how frightened he was. 

But there’s that happy ending that is good for all of us. And he’s home again with his relieved mistress.

Heather and Indie, reunited!

Turning the page. Also from the Post there was news from the Hamptons about getting a table at the restaurants out there. Very important in this troubled time of ours. A couple of the restaurants were in Southampton where evidently the sidewalk restaurants are jammed all through the day and night. 

Evidently you can’t even make a reservation sometimes for weeks ahead. It is so competitive getting one that people actually spend a (what I consider a) fortune just getting the table, not to mention the menu which is the usual expense.

This is how the towns have changed because of the pandemic. The numbers have expanded: more people are moving or spending more time out there, far away from the big town where there are more aerosols floating around. Once the rules had been lifted, all people wanted to get out and get around. Just like in the city, the restaurants are the answer. 

But there are more people with money who can handle it (or something like that). John Catsimatidis, who is chairman (and owner) of the Gristede’s Market chain, reserved “a prime table” at 75 Main in Southampton for the entire season. For a five figure sum.

The Long Island Expressway in 1908. Imagine that!

That’s just for the table, not for the menu. Not everyone has been able (or willing) to make that arrangement. I’m sure for Mr. C. it was a necessary expenditure since he’s one of those guys always steeped in the demands of his business. For others it’s the ego that is enhanced by the power of money. Here’s more.

More Neighborhood Gossip.  I saw this one not in the Post but online (Zero Hedge). It was about a mother whose daughter is a student at Spence, the private girls school on the Upper East Side where the annual cost per pupil (unless you’re on scholarship) is $57,000. 

The offended party, Gabriela Baron.

Recently the girls were shown a video from a segment of a show on Showtime, where the show’s hostess Ziwe Fumudoh remarked to a guest, “I believe that you are not concerned with how annoying white women can be.” 

Then later Fumudoh asked, “What percentage of white women do you hate?” These are evidently “woke” questions. 

Gabriela Baron, the mother of one of the students, was infuriated when she heard about it and told a journalist at the Post that the video was “blatantly racist” that “tarred and feathered” white women.  

Ms. Fumudoh in real life is a comedienne and writer who Wikipedia says is “based in Brooklyn” and writes satiric pieces. She also happens to be black. She’s young — she’s 29 — and ambitious in what is a very challenging business. 

You could easily imagine that her intent was to cause the controversy to get the attention — which is very good publicity for a performer — and maybe even get some laughs out of it from a lot of men (all races) who like to complain about the power of the women in their lives. I even know women who complain about women who are “annoying.” They write it into the personality description of many a friend. 

The offender, Ziwe Fumudoh.

Or, you could think that Ms. Fumudoh is racist since it is such a popular subject with which to get media attention these days. If so, that’s just dumb. After all, human beings are annoying — again, all races. We annoy each other all the time. And not even for publicity. 

Mrs. Baron, however, from the sound of it, had a point. She was putting up all that dough to assure a good education for her daughter who will grow up and have to go out and make a life for herself in this world —  the very process the young comedienne is going through right now.  

Promoting Ms. Fumudoh’s career is part of her education. If she makes it up that ladder of success (and here’s to her efforts!) she’ll run the risk of many people (who work with her) finding her “annoying.” Success and its pressures often attract such drama.

Otherwise, I did have a few laughs thinking of people who are thought of as “annoying.” A lot of men can be too, although they can be even worse and start wars. Alas, alack and all that.

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