While many other P.O.’s around the U.S. are closing, downsizing, or disappearing, this one thrives. It’s easy to see why. Here’s a bunch of civil servants who give their job a good name. They know the residents on their rural route, intervene when the USPS bureaucracy goes haywire and smile when you come “home” to your post office box and greet you by name. But things are changing. I don’t know how much longer these rural lifelines to whole communities will last in the age of email, paperless communication, digital products delivered via the internet and the global power of Amazon, Fedex, UPS and the like.
It’s not just rural life that’s changing, urban touchstones transform much too rapidly as well. I visited my favorite neighborhood tapas place in NYC, Café Riazor on W. 16thStreet which has been around LONG before “tapas” was globalized into the must-be-seen-at fashionable haunts of urban globalization.
Wednesday night, dinner hour, the place would normally be full. If anyone thinks it isn’t the economy that matters in this election, then they really are stupider than they know.
But this lit, lit life is incomplete without a little pulpo a la gallega, chorizo, salad and rioja, especially when you KNOW the food will be consistently good, as it has been over the past 14 years (and even longer for my man) that you’ve haunted this below-ground café. Unpretentious, perhaps unfashionable for the Chelsea of now, but a gazillion times better value and food than the hot new places that have sprung up – and died just as rapidly – for the beautiful young who haunt our neighborhood and are too often drunk or high and too seldom smart enough for their lives ahead.
Oh dear, laments Doris Lessing in her guise as “Jane Somers” back in 1984, If the Old Could, her novel title that echoes a French proverb “si jeunesse savait, si viellese pouvait”—if youth but knew, if the old but could. C’est la vie as we age, indeed.
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Since I’m loafing during these two New York weeks, I’m signing off earlier rather than later and will leave you with a reproduction of a WWII image, widely assumed to be a US government commissioned one promoting women in the workforce, and often associated with “Rosie the Riveter.” Here it is on the corner of Greenwich and 7th Avenues. Sidewalk art, September 30, 2012.
The original image is actually a poster illustration by J. Howard Miller, an artist commissioned by Westinghouse. You can read more about him in Gwen Sharp’s discussion debunking the myth behind this image:
Or listen to a short lecture on the subject by Sheridan Harvey at this Library of Congress video here:
Loafing has its uses – as the boys on South Park like to say, “I learned something today.”
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The blog returns November 2. Join me then for more about Colm Toíbín, as well as Alison Wong, Daren Shiau, Romesh Gunesekera, Kwame Dawes, and other literary luminaries who’ll be passing through Hong Kong from many corners of the globe in the merry, merry month of October (May, October, what’s the diff??? We can close the gap by a couple of months, don’t you think?)