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New Year’s Resolutions for Other People

If I write no other posts during a calendar year (and I write very few) there’s always this one, in which helpfully help others make New Year’s Resolutions. You’re welcome!

To: Shampoo & Conditioner Package Designers 

There are lots of big words on these bottles relating to ingredients like ADZUKA BEANS and benefits like VOLUMIZING. Much, much smaller—and oftentimes in a less-bold font and color—are the words that help you distinguish the shampoo from the conditioner, a task made harder by the whole no-glasses in a steamed-up shower situation. So I have to guess and I always guess wrong. Suggestion: Make the font for ‘shampoo’ and ‘conditioner’ some combination of large, bold and dark, unless the bottle is dark then make it light. Readability is what we’re after here.

ToGoogle

So AI probably has some super useful applications. But one of them is not predicting what I’m going to type next. All of this started with gmail suggesting a few responses I could select if I were feeling really lazy—’sounds like a plan!’ and the like. But yesterday I was attaching an edited document to an email with the explanation that revisions were …. and while I was thinking “highlighted in yellow,” that’s what the Google filled in. So specific! So not really guessable! So creepy!

To: People on Crowded Subway Cars With Backpacks On That Practically Knock Me Over When They So Much as Back Up a Bit

Take them off.

To: the Person Who is Watching a Movie on Amazon Prime With Me Right This Very Minute

Stop talking so much.

 

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New Year’s Resolutions For Other People, 2018

Hey, it’s me again with my annual list of helpful suggestions. You’re welcome!

Grand Central Station: Get more clocks. There should be clocks everyone because the only two things you need to know when you’re there is your track number and what time it is. Currently there’s that yee olde clocke on the info kiosk (charming but analog and when you’re running late you need to know the time down to the second), and a few digital clocks near the platforms. Clocks, clocks, clocks.

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Does anybody really know what time it is?

MTA: So, so many objections but let’s lean into* signage. As a subway user for 30 years, I was flummoxed by an N train headed to Stillwell Avenue. My other choice was Mermaid Avenue. I guessed that Mermaid was Coney Island bound (downtown), which meant that Stillwell would take me to the Bronx (uptown). I was right! But is guessing the best way to ensure we get on the right train?

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Which way to the Bronx?

*Lean into: Stop saying this. Sheryl Sandberg coined the phrase with her bestselling book advising women in the workplace. It’s been bastardized by Corporate America, where it’s used as a directive by bosses (mine, anyway), as in “I’d love for you to lean into that task.”41luF9kOo6L._SX301_BO1,204,203,200_

Made-up words for “weather events:” BombCyclone is not a word, New York Times. Neither is bombogenesis, even though CNN says it is. And even if they are (I now think maybe they are), why is everybody snubbing “blizzard” or “snowstorm” for these wonky weather terms? Also, what’s with “Grayson” as the official storm name?

Bondage as a Fashion Statement: This is not me being prudish. This is me objecting to modern-day women being restrained by their clothing. Did we not suffer enough from Chinese foot-binding and Colonial-era bustles? More on this rant here.

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Don’t even dream of raising your arms

Women Everywhere: Persist, resist, and otherwise do as you like, as suggested by this keychain.

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New Year’s Resolutions For Other People 2017

cwuntzgwiaafogfThis is an annual thing that’s a cross between complaining and wanting everyone to be slightly or significantly better human beings. Some of them are duplicates from last January because, it has become obvious, many people are not paying attention.

  1. To the people who share cars with me. Stop leaving this kind of thing in the car: the keys (we live in BRIDGEPORT now, ok?); coffee cups where my coffee cup wants to go but can’t because yours was left there; any all foodstuffs and the bags they came in; no gas.
  2.  To cashiers. Stop saying “following guest” when you mean “next guest.” It’s not fancier, if that’s what you’re thinking.
  3. To waiters: Stop saying “no problem” when you mean “you’re welcome.” It should be clear to both of us that pouring me a glass of water is not a problem.
  4. To adult children who come to visit, taking all the phone chargers when they leave. Stop doing that.
  5. To celebrity “news” writers. Stop using these words (italics mine):
  • Kendall Jenner slayed in her mesh mini. Also stop with the Kardashians entirely. We have tired of them.
  • We’re obsessed with Hiddleswift. Also stop mashing up celebrity couple names.
  •  Body After Baby. They have trainers, nutritionists and nannies. Also this fatshames women who carry weight after childbirth, which is, actually, normal.

5. To Donald Trump. Stop tweeting. There are so very many things you can’t change about yourself but here’s one you can.

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6. Manspreaders on MetroNorth. Because you’re taking up my portion of the seat I’ve paid dearly for and also because every year I must complain about MetroNorth.

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new year’s resolutions for other people, 2016

It’s a ritual of mine to helpfully help people and machines select vows to better themselves. You’re welcome!

  • To my husband: stop reading the newspaper aloud while I am trying to read it to myself, silently. He never really finishes his sentences so it is received as a whole bunch of mystery outbursts. This is what he is saying right now: “It’s just like the South African one.” Sixty seconds later: “Creed, can you believe it.” Sixty seconds later: “Did you read that thing about the Uighers?”
  •  To the makers of self-service platforms and kiosks and checkouts that offer no service at all: Either stop making them or, at the very least, stop calling them “service.”
  • To New Year, New You headline writers. This is a hacky, media trope that must end. Worse: #newyearnewyou.
  • Same message goes out to the same (or different, doesn’t matter) writers who call anything “the Brooklyn of..”
  • To people on the streets of New York City, do not: stand in bunches on street corners, blocking me from stepping up onto the curb; stop without warning; walk in groups of more than one (also known as walk in groups); have dogs or baby carriages in tow; be there when I try to turn a corner. Do walk more or less like this:
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Don’t break stride.

  • To the child who doesn’t text me when I text him/her, or return Facebook messages, and let’s not even discuss emails and voice mails: Call your mom.

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  • To the makers of smoke alarms: Can you figure out a way quieter way to alert us that the toast is burning? It’s really not that big a deal.
  • To Donald Trump. Go to hell. And take Ted Cruz with you.

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New Year’s Resolutions for Other People 2015

Yesterday, I heard a tale about a mother who called her children on Jan. 1 with New Year’s greetings, along with helpful suggestions for resolutions for their consideration.

This was meant to be the punchline of a joke about meddling moms.

But I have been known to draft resolutions for others to adopt. For their sake but also mine, because I am so very inconvenienced by smokers who insist on congregating just outside my office building (resolution: why don’t you stop smoking) and the makers of pre-washed salad greens who mix in  those dark leaves that go bad instantly and make the whole bag smell horrible (resolution: why don’t you just stop doing that).

So maybe, to avoid become the punchline to a joke, I won’t offer helpful resolutions to my children, who are pretty perfect already. But for all others, here are ways you can become more generous, more efficient and so much more appreciated (by me) in 2015:

Bartenders: you will be perceived as more  generous if you pour a hearty 6 ounces of wine instead of sad-looking 4. Also, never serve a Bloody Mary without some sort of garni (aka a Naked Mary, blasphemous!). A whole stick full of olives, sausages and cheese hunks are preferred but at the very least shove in a celery stalk. I’m talking to you, Spinning Wheel restaurant.

Cashiers: when you hand me my change, don’t stack it onto the bill you have also handed me, making a tippy raft that I have to dismantle, holding up the whole line. Instant efficiency!

Cashiers, part two: explain to me why you suddenly all say “following guest?” when you want the next person in line to step up and pay. Why “following?” Why not “next?” Stop saying that.

Hulu Prime: be more like Netflix. Remember where I am in my show so when I return, I don’t have to figure it out on my own. And a word of warning: I broke up with my cable company because of commercials and yet you persist in showing them.

Hey Google (I think this is how you like to be addressed): Yes, I searched for that pair of shoes. But then I bought them. So that’s the very last ad you should be showing me, O.K.?

MetroNorth: Go to hell.

MetroNorth: over-bright, under-speedy and smelling, unforgiveably, like a bathroom.

MetroNorth: over-bright, under-speedy and smelling, unforgiveably, like a bathroom.

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Things That Many People Like That I Don’t Really Like All That Much

While I’m making lists (see New Year’s Resolutions for Other People) here’s another one.

  1. New Year’s Eve—Falls into the category of Holidays We Hate
  2. Old black and white movies—Why, when there are so many new ones in color?
  3. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel—Yes, it’s in color but I still don’t like it and I couldn’t figure out why, given the fabulous clothes and super charming Rachel Brosnahan. Emily Nussbaum nailed it in her New Yorker review entitled (and this says it all) ‘The Cloying Fantasia of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” which she summed up as “tooth-rottingly twee,” even while lamenting it was “so far up my alley it was practically chopping onions in my kitchen.”
  4. Orchids—On a TV show set they are shorthand for “fancy law office,” and in someone’s house, “this home is for sale.”
  5. Bob Dylan—Lyrics, great! Voice, not great!
  6. Honey mustard—I love both honey and mustard but not together
  7. Beer—But I do like an ice-cold Bud Lite with Lime on a (and I do mean just one) hot summer day
  8. Facebook—Would it be OK if I just shut it down? It annoys me mightily.
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New Year’s Resolutions For Me This Time 2017

It’s only fair that I share my list, now that I’ve posted my mostly annual New Year’s Resolutions For Others.

  1. Choose Kindness. Because it is always a choice.

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  1. Judge less.
  2. Write more.
  3. There is beauty everywhere. Find it.
  4. Read poetry. It pretty much explains everything.
  5. Keep working on these things.
  6. Lest this start to sound like a Pinterest board waiting to happen: Stop drinking so much wine, you wino.
  7. Also: would it kill me to learn Spanish?
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new year’s resolutions for others

to the makers of bagged salad greens: skip the dark “oak” leaves, which spoil quickly and leave the rest of the mix smelling murky and bad. to people who live in my house: stop leaving your dirty dishes in the sink. to my dog: stop all of that excessive and noisy grooming at night, it’s keeping me up. to safari and google and facebook: stop updating all the time, people don’t like change. to the wine-glass manufacturers who affix those sticky labels that are impossible to remove: just stop.

Do these qualify as white girl problems?

Self-service

Standing in line to not have someone help you. That’s what I feel like, Shop Rite and American Airlines, at your self-service check-outs and kiosks. Why call it service at all, why not just “self” as there is no service now is there? I am also looking at you clunky SAAS platforms that Time Inc. uses so it know longer needs to employ actual service providers like HR, IT and payroll employees, and that don’t talk to each other so you have to bounce among them inputting the same data all over the place. Even worse, they don’t change the error messages from alerts such as “cell value does not match data field” — which might more helpfully be translated as “use all four numbers to enter year of birth.”

File this under “New Year Resolutions for Other People” (see post) and also “Things I Am Supposed to Like But Do Not Like All That Much.”