The five lessons I learned from strangers

This morning I crossed paths with the elderly Indian gentleman I see most mornings on my way to work. We went through our usual routine: I smile and say good morning, and he smiles back, performs an elegant flourish with his hand, and responds, “and a very good day to you.” Not only is hisContinue reading “The five lessons I learned from strangers”

Don’t judge a book by its readers

A girl in college once told me she thought that people who liked the same bands could probably be friends. Her sentiment struck me as terribly naïve, but it’s taken me two decades to question my own assumption that people who like the same books share a sensibility. Last week my wife and I wentContinue reading “Don’t judge a book by its readers”

Jury duty part 1: Kafka in Jamaica

A couple of weeks ago I received a letter summoning me to jury duty. I looked at it askance partly because I have one bad eye, partly because when I first lived in Queens in the early 2000s I ignored several of these, so I’ve been afraid of getting arrested for contempt of court everContinue reading “Jury duty part 1: Kafka in Jamaica”

Hater lover forever

I’m a pretty negative guy. A total hater. I hate so many types of people that I can’t name them all. They include spitters, lip-smackers, and mouth-breathers; high-fivers, back-slappers, and fake-punchers; Republicans, evangelicals, and frat boys; people who stand at escalators and moving sidewalks, and those who press the elevator button more than once; adults who mistreatContinue reading “Hater lover forever”

Quiz: introvert, extrovert, misanthrope, or illiterate?

It’s Columbus Day, and a few doors down our neighbors are whooping it up. Or maybe they’re fighting, I can’t really tell. That’s because to an introvert like me, even the friendliest celebrations imply a threat. Every after-work party is a toast away from turning into a Beer Hall Putsch. All my life I’ve struggled withContinue reading “Quiz: introvert, extrovert, misanthrope, or illiterate?”

Hell is other people. At MoMA.

In a fit of optimism, Sabine and I got memberships to MoMA last December thinking that the repeated visits would pay for themselves. But just like other people with their gym memberships, we ended up only going once this year. When work let out early yesterday, I decided to visit the permanent collection and try to getContinue reading “Hell is other people. At MoMA.”

An encounter with a connoisseur

After leaving an excellent exhibition at the Folk Art Museum (Eugene Von Bruenchenhein‘s sexy pics of his wife, if you must know), Sabine and I stopped to look at the African art for sale on the street. I never know what to make of that stuff – is it genuine? Surely not, but it definitely looksContinue reading “An encounter with a connoisseur”