new year's resolutions for other people the complaint department

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.
summer the complaint department

due to excessive pleasantness

and the sun shone and a breeze blew, although not so much it could be called a wind, and the temperature was neither baking nor bitter. The overnight weather was also uneventful, no storms, no rain, no train-track-bending cold. I wasn’t awake but I’d guess it was some combination of dark and warm.

“We apologize for the inconvenience, but due to weather-related issues the New Haven trains will be delayed,” began the Great but Unseen Apologizer, the voice MetroNorth pipes in to offer excuses, however lame and, today, unbelievable.

“So the weather today is …?” I ask the conductor who will commiserate with me, I am sure of it.

“Too pleasant?” He deadpans, squinting out the grimed windows at the beautiful morning sky. “Excessively pleasant?”


today's weather, pleasant with a chance of delays
today’s weather, pleasant with a chance of delays

The ride home

Looking for hope and good will on this dreary January evening. Not to be found among the unfurled umbrellas blossoming without heed to others’ heads and hats and eyes. Nor along the train tunnels, smelling of damp and scorched fuel. The sky-blue Tiffany billboards, posted before the holidays, look shopworn. The first car I try smells, unforgivably, of the bathroom. The next is a bar car, decorated with faux-bois wallpaper, which will have “no scheduled service this evening,” the conductor announces. Are we to hold out hope for impromptu, spontaneous drink pouring? I wedge onto the vinyl-upholstered bench with two others, one with a sinus issues of the nasal sort. January, either you must leave or I will. We cannot coexist.