Tag Archives: Travel

Women: What Are You Doing?

9 Jun

June 9, 2018

Recently, I was with my Mom and we were taking car service downtown. Mom takes this particular car service a lot. she knows the drivers and they know her. She’s a regular. On this particular day we were sitting in the back and as we approached the destination she leaned over to me and handed me the money for the driver. She wanted me to give it to him. (I’m sure you’re wondering why I didn’t pay for the trip. Simple. Mom wouldn’t let me.)

I have no idea why she wanted me to give it to the driver when she takes this car service all the time and pays herself. I started to ask her why but she said “because I said so,” which is good enough for me coming from Mom.

But this isn’t the first time. It’s not a unique phenomena that woman- independent, strong women- defer to a man when it comes time to handle money. I’m not talking about paying, I mean literally holding and handing money to someone.

Longtime readers of this blog, at least those who admit to reading this blog, may recall a trip I made back in my teaching days as a chaperone to a bus load of kids touring colleges around Boston. It was led by a very strong-willed female teacher. She set it up, arranged the bus, made hotel reservations, etc. Yet at the end of the trip when it came time to tip the bus driver, she handed me the money to give the driver. Why? She had been dealing with him all along, giving directions, etc. But when it came to handing him some money, this strong and in charge woman decided a man should do it.

Slightly more recently, when I worked at the Company I Am still not allowed to name, I went on a corporate trip with my group to Delaware. It was a miserable trip and you can read about it here. The highlight was the view from my hotel, which was a swamp. We got on a shuttle bus, me sitting behind the driver, one of the group sitting next to me, the boss behind me, the other group member behind her. I was not paying any attention at all until this happened:

When the driver asked where we were from, my boss literally kicked the back of my seat and said “answer him.” I had to ask him to repeat the question since I had totally zoned out as soon as I got on the shuttle, day dreaming about ditching all responsibility and going the heck home.

 

Again, when it came time to deal with a man, my boss, a woman who was not afraid to yell and kick my seat, deferred to a man to answer a question. I wasn’t the spokesman of the group at any other time, before or since, and other than a mumbled “hey” I hadn’t had any interaction with the driver. But when it came time to make small talk, somehow my boss, rather than answer him herself, wanted me to do it. Did I mention I was the only man in the group?

Why? Is this some sort of reverse chivalry? Do they think they are doing me a favor by having me do the stereotypically male things, like tipping and dealing with directions? Is there a kind of reverse feminism at work? I really don’t understand. So ladies, I ask you- what is this odd behavior all about? Is this a throwback to the attitude of some things are men’s work? Is this a set back for feminism? Or is this just the way things are? 

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Fine Dining on the Subway

1 Jun

June 1, 2018

Ah, the subway during rush hour. The crowds, the pushing and shoving, the smells, the body odor, the homeless, the rats, the unidentifiable flecks floating in the air. Doesn’t it make you hungry?

Not me.

I really don’t know how people do it but I see it every day. Just yesterday a woman was sitting in a seat, crowded on all sides, with a series of plastic bags open on her lap and the dirty floor between her feet and from them she was taking the makings of tortillas, which she made and ate while the odor of the homeless guy across from her wafted through the air like mustard gas in World War One. 

But what is even more inconceivable to me, yet I see it more than a few times each week, is the bizarre phenomenon of people taking home pizza on the subway. 

Picture it. Rush hour. Crowds. People pressed together. And someone forces their way on the train carrying a large box that has to be held straight out and flat, taking up the room of two other people. It pokes the already crowded commuters in their backs and gets shoved and wrestled. This happens. I see it a lot. A guy gets on at Union Square in Manhattan and takes a pizza all the way home, 45 minutes, to Bay Parkway. Of course by the time he gets it home it’ll be cold, probably squashed, and it’ll have been traveling through the subway where the air has more rat particles per square inch than an actual rat. Appetizing! And worse, the part of Brooklyn he traveled to with the pizza has more pizzerias than you can shake stick at. There are a dozen within walking distance of my house, no lie. Why not wait until you get home and order a pizza? Fresh and hot! And untainted by the body odor of underground denizens.

So even assuming the pizza from Union Square is the greatest pizza in the known world, after being shaken and crushed on the train, and after getting cold in an hour of travel, and after being exposed to the foul air underground, how good is that pizza going to taste?

Is it worth it?

 

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