Sunday, September 20, 2009

Stupidity - The Gift That Keeps On Giving

The gift, you see, that stupidity keeps on giving is food for the ever-hungry blogger.

Today's example was (as is often the case) in the Letters To The Editor section of the NY Post (which, by the way, had a wonderful picture caption yesterday -baby pandas nursing with the caption: Newborns Belly Up To The Bear!).

You may or may not know that our dear Mayor, Mr. Bloomberg, is now considering a plan to ban smoking OUTDOORS as well as indoors. As in no smoking in the parks or on the beaches. This is an idiotic idea, and for once I'm not speaking from the standpoint of a smoker. How on earth would you enforce this? Central Park alone has miles of heavy shrubbery and trees and whatnot to get lost in. I should think you'd have to station a cop about every ten feet - and we don't have that many cops. I don't think anybody's got that many cops. It's just a silly idea.

Well, this fetched the letter, which I quote, in part:

"I decided to eat my lunch outside on a beautiful, sunny workday last week, and I planned to enjoy it at one of the tables on the newly shut-down Broadway in Times Square.

Doesn't that sound nice? Unfortunately, it wasn't because of the smokers who ruined my 15 minutes of togetherness with nature."

This is deluded on more levels than I can really assimilate. Let's leave aside the notion that eating one's lunch in the middle of Times Square counts as enjoying a lovely day. Face it, there's no accounting for anyone who looks at some of the fashions for the fall can tell.

But she actually considered sitting in the middle of Times Square at lunch hour "togetherness with nature?" Has anyone ever found anything remotely resembling nature in Times Square? Maybe she was thinking about those pitiful plantings on the median strip there, or the dusty flowers in the truck bomb protection bunkers around the hotels? Maybe she has a home in an industrial waste dump, and this is as close to green as she gets?

And the smokers ruined it. Not the cars, buses and trucks spewing exhaust about five yards away from her. No, clearly that counts as part of nature (well, actually, if you live in New York it sort of does). Her little nature communication wasn't ruined by the fact that she chose to eat her lunch in one of the noisiest places on earth, or the fact that she chose to eat it surrounded by every single tourist in the whole sidereal universe. Or the underlying fact that if she works near enough to that plaza or whatever they call it, she had to have been able to see that people smoked there.

I think this lady has problems unconnected to people smoking cigarettes. I have a suspicion that she's one of those people who keep spraying disinfectant on their telephones at work and complaining about people's perfume.

By the way, about that plaza (for want of a better word, such as stupid piece of city planning), has anybody but me ever noticed a fairly major problem with it? Maybe it's because I'm a true blue New Yorker, and thus trained to see trouble before it gets to me, but that median strip separating the plaza from the traffic seems awfully flimsy to me. I'm around there reasonably often (it's right at 46th where the Equity office is), and I keep thinking that all it would take would be one good traffic accident to send a taxi or a van shooting right over that thing into the tourist seating. As we all know, I hate tourists, but even I don't want them to be smeared all over the sidewalk. I'm just wondering whether anybody ever thought of this...such as the nitwits who thought the whole thing was a good idea in the first place.

Just another fascinating day in New York, folks.

Love, Wendy


Anonymous said...

Not to be identified with a "tourist", but on my recent visit to your fair city, we stayed at the Waldorf... not too shabby... but when I went to the coffee shop and asked for an ash tray I was told, "There is no smoking in New York." and I'm like... huh? The whole f-ing state!? To which my first thought, like yours, was "that not monitored becomes optional!" or, Stop Me! So with my subsequent outdoor smoking adventures, I found most of my compadres to be European... and they think we are totally Nucking Futs! 'Course, at that point I didn't want to be identified as a New Yorker or a tourist!
Honestly, they should just go ahead and make tobacco illegal, so I can at least have the fun of being a horrible, nasty, law-breaking, retired educational admn, tobacco, and dope smoker!
Texas Beth

newatthis said...

Great post, Wendy! You ought to send that to the Post as an unsolicited "Guest column" for their letters or op-ed page. Tom.