Irate so I write

The year has barely begun and already I’m exhausted by the sheer amount of bullshit in our society. Perhaps if it had just been a thing or two, I could have overlooked them and focused my attention instead upon next month’s trip to the desert, but when the outrages and irritations continue to accumulate…well, it’s time for a bit of a rant.

My middle son has been living on his own, with roommates, for close to four years. His dad and I don’t contribute at all to his living expenses, beyond providing him with health insurance. He began taking classes last fall towards an eventual associates degree and at that time, I was asked to attend a meeting regarding financial aid. It seemed that since he isn’t yet 24 years old, in a branch of the military, married or a parent himself, for financial aid purposes he is considered dependent. In order to complete his FAFSA, a parent’s income was required.

Now, I’m sorry, but that’s some bs. I know it wasn’t this way when I was a student and I can’t help but think that the system is screwing young adults. Especially when they’re making a salary which is ridiculously low.

This same son has been working for the legislature for nearly 5 years. Recently, the Times Union’s Chris Churchill wrote a story about how legislative staffers, such as my son, get hosed by New York State. While the Legislature recently scored themselves a raise of $32,000 annually, employees like my son receive criminally low salaries. During session (you know, those 60 days a years which comprise the Legislative Calendar), my kid often works 60+ hours a week. His reward for all those hours? Comp time, but no cash.

Comp time, as you may or may not know, essentially disappears at the end of the calendar year. Use it or lose it, people. This situation is a prime example of how public employees get screwed, while elected officials get rich. It’s absolutely infuriating and I’m not going to shut up about it.

Seeing that the NYS legislature is the highest paid in the country, would it be too much to for them to actually write some legislation which would prevent Ticketmaster from charging insane convenience fees? Last week I scored two tickets to what promises to be an incredible show at the Beacon later this year. The tickets were an indulgence at $250 each, but the price was one I was willing to pay to listen to Bono talk and sing in a fairly small venue. It was a choice I made.

My complaint with regards to the price of the tickets lies in the excessive fees tacked on to the price of tickets – an additional $130, or $60+ a ticket. For what? I don’t even get a souvenir ticket stub for that price. Why is this business allowed to assess a 25% surcharge on this transaction? Oh – and incidentally, there isn’t a single penny in taxes included in the sale.

When I’m not purchasing wildly expensive show tickets, as I often document, I like to travel. My preference, for accommodations when I’m staying in a destination for more than two nights, is a property that includes a kitchen and laundry facilities, which means I frequently use AirBandB to make reservations. I’ve been traveling in this fashion for quite some time and generally have been pretty happy with my stays.

I’ve noticed, however, that the available properties have changed over the years from family or individually owned second homes or guest cottages to properties which have been purchased expressly to be generate income. This trend has been documented and is being blamed for creating a shortage in affordable rental properties for residents who find themselves unable to find longterm housing since landlords would rather charge per night than per month.

While searching for places to stay for a planned summer vacation, I made a point of seeking out properties which at least gave me the impression that they were owned by individuals rather than corporations and appeared to be of the type upon which the platform was initially founded.

I won’t be driving on that trip, preferring to travel by train or bus between destination, but I’m curious to know if the extreme aggression I see on the roads here in New York, is also present in Europe. I am so over being tailgated, passed in no passing zones and in general being forced to adjust my driving to meet the demands of other drivers who apparently have very important places to go, immediately.

For the love of God, why are drivers so hell bent on creating dangerous situation on the roads? And, for what gain? Most of the time when someone flies around me on 30 mph streets, I catch up to them at the very next red light. Seriously, the amount of aggressive driving I witness makes me wish I could use public transit to travel more frequently, like here in Albany. Wouldn’t light rail be dreamy?

I’ve complained about this before, but since it’s January and yoga studios are full of resolutioners (welcome!) I’m going to mention it again…cell phones (and their annoying wristwatch relatives), along with conversations, do not belong in the studio. If you don’t understand that, you’re basically failing yoga. There are signs outside the door of every studio I practice in (I bounce between three locations) that state very clearly that the studio is a silent space without phones, yet people can’t seem to respect that. As far as I’m concerned, leave that shit in the lobby or your car.

We’re all exhausted by the Covid pandemic, but I believe there’s another pandemic that is also a problem, one that doesn’t come with illness or the promise of vaccines. It’s the complete oblivion to others and their needs, position, and/or perspective. I see it everywhere with double parking that interferes with traffic flow, loud cell phone conversations in public spaces, and at the self check out lane in the grocery store. People simply do not consider anyone other than themselves and it’s both infuriating and incredibly sad.

Sometimes it feels like the end of civilization.

Lest you think I am focusing only upon the negative, let me share a few bright spots. My skin is really dry and I’m continually seeking a magical moisturizer that softens my skin. I’m also guilty of spending far too much on products that promise the world, yet fail to deliver, and bounce between brands frequently. The Origins line is one that I find myself returning to for their natural and organic creams and lotions. While searching on their website, I came across a product with which I was unfamiliar, Precipitation. It was billed as “extra moisture recovery for very dry skin, which sounded promising. Sign me up!

I had been using this rich, yet easily absorbed lotion as a facial moisturizer for a couple of weeks before I read the label and learned that it was intended to be a body lotion. Oops! That explained the large size tub it came at a price less expensive than I’m accustomed to paying. Seeing that I’ve been pleased with how my face looks and feels, I’m just going to continue using Precipitation as I have been, directions be damned.

I was a little late to party, but count me as another fan of Pearl’s Bagels & Bakery in the Crestwood Plaza. I wouldn’t call myself a bagel connoisseur but I do have my own criteria for the ideal specimen and Pearl’s absolutely hits it out of the park. They’re the perfect size (take note Price Chopper and Uncommon Grounds), light and airy in the center and delightfully crunchy on the outside. These are bagels I will wait in line for, although I do wish there were a line just for picking up bagels, as opposed to coffee and made to order sandwiches. If you go, look for the young teen manning the register. He alone gives me hope that customer service is not totally extinct.

Finally, by random chance, I have eaten in two (Woodstock and Kingston) of the three locations of Yum Yum Noodle Bar this month and have happy both times with my meal. The noodle bowl, which you get to customize with broth, protein and noodles, was delicious and provided me with two meals. We also sampled the steamed buns with pork, something I don’t typically order, and imagine those being in my future. Last weekend, looking for something not too substantial, my friend and I ordered a curry special with rice which was satisfying and a bargain at just $10. I’ll happily go back.

Do you have any rants (or raves) to share?

2 thoughts on “Irate so I write

  1. Latham Bagel (formally known as Golden Crust) opposite Latham Ford has become our go to place for decent (not incredible) bagels…..The Works in Newton Plaza (where Brueggers was) is meh….and neither is a place I would get lox from…as I don’t think they move enough product to make certain it is fresh.

    Rant – delivery pizza in the Watervliet/Latham area is a big hit or miss…you can do fine one time and then have a string of crap delivered…so you move on to someplace else…with similar results…. it seems like nobody delivers pizza in those heated bags in this area….so often the pizza is cold…which yes you can reheat and crisp up at home…but then you chance having a crispy critter of a pizza…..

    ok…my rants are done….glad I WFH and don’t have to worry about commute to work on a Snowy Monday

    1. Pizza! I am feeling your pizza complaint. It used to be easy to get something decent delivered, but I’ve completely given up. Maybe someday the place that has been promising to open in the old Lou Bea’s spot will actually materialize…

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