Sharon Tracy, Licensed Physical Therapist, Stole My Watch!


A watch.

A while ago I tweaked my back and it’s been giving me problems on and off since. For a while I had been going to a chiropractor but felt that wasn’t doing very much good. The problem seemed to be more muscular than spine or alignment.

After much consideration and research, and on the recommendation of my regular doctor, I decided to try a physical/massage therapist. Luckily it was covered my employer’s insurance so I thought what the hell. I was in a lot of pain and was willing to try anything.

My first meeting with Sharon Tracy was telling. Her office was in a brownstone, which isn’t unusual in Brooklyn. She was kind of spacey and out of it. Just a little flighty although I couldn’t really put my finger on it. I took it for New Age-y flakiness and let it slide. She seemed nice enough even if she was a bit quirky.

You had to take your shoes off before you entered even the lobby of her office. I showed up around fifteen minutes before my appointment and ended up having to wait outside on the stoop of the brownstone because no one was there to let me in. I assumed, like a normal doctor’s appointment, you show up a little early and wait. She told me, “oh, I forgot to tell you never to show up early for your appointment, just get here right on time”. Ok, odd, but ok. She spent the first twenty minutes of our first session freaking out about how she couldn’t get her e-mail to work, to the point that I took ten minutes and setup Outlook for her.

That was my first encounter, quirkiness and all, but I’m still in it to win it. I’m in pain and I want it to stop. I’m willing to put up with whatever mojo she’s got going.

For our second appointment, I show up right on time, and oops, she’s double booked. I reschedule and leave.

For our third appointment she’s about ten minutes late, no big deal I wait and we have the normal session. I should mention that through all of these sessions, we had conversations. She talked incessantly during the session, which was quite annoying, but which I never said anything about. We were on good terms. I never showed frustration or even gave the air that I was bothered by her eccentricities.

After the third session, I asked if we should do the appointment the same time next week. She recommended I start coming twice a week so we made two appointments. One for Tuesday and one for Thursday.

As part of the session, there is a massage, so when I get undressed, as a habit I would take off my watch and lay it on a mantle next to where my clothes were.

Now here’s where it gets interesting. After my third visit, and after she suggests we make two appointments for the next week, I leave. I was literally not completely out to the sidewalk when I realized I had left my watch inside on the mantle. I turned around and buzzed to get back in. Nothing. No answer. We’re talking 30 maybe 45 seconds tops since I walked out the door. Buzz again. Nothing. Still no answer.

While I thought it was odd, and a little frustrating that she wasn’t answering, I wasn’t worried. I would just get the watch at my next appointment.

So I show up on Tuesday for my appointment, right at 11 as commanded. Buzz. No answer. Buzz again, no answer. Ok, fine. She’s running late again. I’ll just sit on the stoop…again. 15 minutes passes. Buzz. No answer. 30 minutes passes. Buzz. Nothing. 45 minutes, still no answer, so fuck it, I leave.

I get home and call her, and get her machine. I’m still polite, even going so far as to say that I may have mixed up the appointment time, but if she could just call me back to let me know that we’re still on for Thursday. I get no call back. I call her again on Wednesday, “hey, just wanted to make sure we were still on for tomorrow, I know we missed each other Tuesday. Give me a call.” No call, no nothing.

Thursday, I show up for my appointment, again, no one is there. I wait, and wait. And wait. No one is there. Now I’m pissed. I call again. Again, I get her machine. “Ok look, I’m not sure what’s going on, but obviously you’re busy and our appointments aren’t working out, but like I’ve said, I left my watch there. Just call me back and let me know when I can come and pick that up. Call me anytime”. Again, nothing.

I call everyday, sometimes twice a day, for the next two weeks. “Please, that watch was a gift, I just want to pick it up, anytime you want to call is fine, but this is getting ridiculous, just give me back my watch.” Zip. Never hear from her again.

I still call occasionally, her machine still picks up. I still leave a message. I still get no response.

So, just in case you’re ever in need of a physical therapist in Park Slope, you may want to avoid Sharon Tracy. On second thought, don’t avoid her. Go to her, and if you see my watch, take it and run.

Give me back my watch you crazy biatch!

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Muffin Tipping Etiquette


blue_sky_bakery I have worked a lot in the service industry and I know what it’s like to work your ass off and get a shitty tip. Whenever I go out, I always tip very well, because I know how good it can make someone feel to get a great tip after running around and serving you for the night. I just wanted to predicate that with what I’m about to say.

There’s a muffin place in my neighborhood that specializes in muffins. They have a few other things they make, but it seems like muffins are the go to item for most people. Occasionally I get the hankerin’ for a good, fresh muffin. So I go to this place because they do have really good muffins. They always have different kinds like, blackberry/strawberry, banana/fig/bran, blueberry/mango/cream cheese. Always interesting flavors, and always fresh so I dig it.

Here’s the thing. There’s a tip cup sitting right by the register. Now, when I go in, I only deal with the person at the counter, it’s not like I walk in the back and have the baker whip me up a fresh, made-to-order muffin, I just politely ask the counter person for the muffin of my choice.

Everytime though I have all this guilt about the tip cup. I mean, the person is just handing me a muffin, that’s it. Is that worthy of a tip? And what do you tip on a $1.50 muffin? If the glass case wasn’t there, I could easily just grab my own muffin, it’s not like it’s something I couldn’t handle. But a tip? For handing me a muffin? Is that really justified?

What do you think? Would you leave a tip for being handed a muffin? There’s usually a few bucks in the tip cup, but that could just be money they planted there to get the ball rolling. I’m sure it’s not the greatest pay in the world working behind the counter at a muffin store but, that’s not my fault. Am I a jerk, or is tipping for a muffin uncalled for?

Park Slope: The Stroller Mafia


If you’ve had the chance to visit the lovely, up and coming neighborhood of Park Slope, there’s a good chance you’ve had at least one encounter with the Stroller Mafia.  Sure, the stroller mafia is probably an inevitable side effect of gentrification  but that still doesn’t take away the sheer terror of finding yourself face to face with a group of stroller wielding yipsters (half yuppies half old hipsters) with a since of entitlement.  It is my friends, a ride you don’t want to find yourself on.

The stroller mafia has managed to completely infiltrate Park Slope and make it their own. These women aren’t toting around your average, everyday strollers, hell no!  They’re sporting the top of the line in stroller power, they have two, three and sometimes four seater strollers waiting to mow you down on the sidewalk for so much as unintentional glance in their direction.

I’ve heard stories of the mafia actually forming roving gangs of 9, 10 or sometimes more, and completely taking over restaurants, bookstores not to mention the poor boutiques.  There’s a Park Slope legend that is only spoken about in hushed whispers.  Supposedly a bartender at one of the restaurants taken over by the lactating capos was hit pretty hard and has never been quite the same.  Rumor has it he spends his days rocking back and forth and muttering “please, no more mimosa’s, no more crayons”.

Wreckless, savage, entitled, when the SM rolls in they leave a breast feeding, baby screaming, food throwing, mother hitting trail of destruction.  This is fair warning to all, if you dare brave the Slope, beware.  The stroller mafia is everywhere.

The SM lives by strict code of conduct that cannot be broken.  Rule number one, there is only one rule, and that’s to never, ever discipline your kids.  Ever!  Rumor has it a woman once politely asked her kid to “please sit down”.  No one ever saw her again.  Some say she went into hiding…others, well I don’t really want to get into what the others say happened.

Sure, there are still nice, decent things about Park Slope.  Are they harder to find now with the lawless band of stroller dons around?  Maybe.  Will the SM be able to maintain its iron grip of power forever?  Who knows.  One thing is certain though, at least for now, there’s only one law in this neighborhood and that’s the law of the stroller mafia.

Google Talk Lacks Actual Users to Talk To


There, I said it. I’ve had Google’s new IM client since the day it was released and I just have one thing to say about it. It sucks. Do you want to know why it sucks? Because nobody fucking uses it! Everyone’s been using AIM or Yahoo or MSN Messenger, and who the hell wants to switch.

I love gTalk’s UI. I like the fact that there aren’t ads everywhere and the chat windows are simple and clean. But what good is it when you can’t talk to anyone on it? Yeah you can make PC to PC calls, but Skype pretty much had the market locked up on that one and now you can do that with Yahoo! Messenger too.

When gTalk came out there were a few people that downloaded it, then slowly but surely they stopped showing up as online. Of course this could be less that gTalk sucks and more that people just really dislike me, but I’m dismissing that notion for the sake of this story.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Google believer. I like their products, I’m a gmail junkie. I just can’t keep justifying keeping an IM client that no one I know is using. Admittedly, it’s hard to switch IM clients. You have your entire contact list already, and unless you can convince everyone of them to make the switch with you, being an gTalk pioneer can be a lonely, lonely venture.

Do you think gTalk is too plain for people? Do other people like the flash and the smiley crap that’s on all the other clients? Maybe so, but until Google can come up with some better incentives they’re gTalk is going to be sucking more daily. Especially now that Yahoo and MSN have announced their plans to make their IM clients compatible. gTalk is in for some hard times unless it can convince people to switch. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening anytime in the near future.

Editors note 11/08/2008: Looking back on this post is pretty funny. When I actually do use IM these days I don’t know anyone that isn’t on gTalk. Although I still stick by the fact that I was literally one of the first people to download it when they snuck out a release late one night.

Honk if You Have Road Rage


I’m not sure who or what department is in charge of enforcing NYC’s don’t honk law, but whoever they are, they should be fired.   Immediately.  This has to be the worst case of job ineffectiveness I have witnessed in my entire life.  Has anyone ever gotten, or known anyone who has gotten a ticket for honking their horn? 

Bloomberg should give me the job of writing people tickets for honking.  In a matter of weeks New York would be the wealthiest city on the planet.  I’d be a ticket writing motherfucker.  I’d have to learn how to write left handed just for when my right hand got too tired to handle the immense amount of tickets I’d spend my day writing.  I’d gladly work overtime for free.  I’d whistle charming little diddies as made my way about the city ticketing honkers

I live near a fairly busy intersection and it drives me mad to hear the honking that goes on.  The problem with honking in congestion is that there is absolutely nowhere for the cars in front of the honker to go.  Your honk is totally fruitless and without merit.

It’s not like people are sitting in their cars reading the paper with a free and clear road ahead of them.  What the fuck do you want them to do people?  Do you think your horn holds some mysterious, magical power that makes traffic disappear? 

Please shut the fuck up and stop polluting my environment with your horn.   I truly hope there is a special place in hell reserved for people that abuse their horn priveleges.  You make the world a miserable place to live in and I hope your horns break or something equally traumatizing to your rage blackout needs.

Wash and Fold: An NYC Story


whitecloudOne of the main reasons I moved to NYC was the abundance of wash and fold laundromats. I had pretty much narrowed down my choices between NYC and Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It was a tough decision, but after doing some intense research NYC completely blew Sioux Falls away in the “per capita wash and fold laundromats” department.

The truth is, I could actually give or take the “wash” part of it. It’s the “fold” part that I’m hooked on. After the first time you get your laundry back all compact and neat, folded into a tight brick of clothes it has a hold on you that’s hard to break.

There are however two parts of the “wash” process that are important to me.

  1. The fabric softener. I always check that little box on the receipt requesting fabric softener but I’m about 98% sure it never gets into the mix. But hey, I’m no elitist, I can live without fabric softener, what the hell.
  2. Detergent.  That seems like a fairly critical ingredient in the “wash” phase but now I’m nearly convinced there isn’t eve any detergent involved.

The last few times I’ve picked up my clothes they’ve had absolutely no smell at all.  Even detergent leaves a fresh, clean scent, but nothing is going on in there.  I suppose it’s possible that they’re just using some cheap, scentless non-allergenic detergent that I can’t smell but it’s also possible they have in fact just stopped using soap to clean my clothes.

I don’t eve know what to do about this.  A quick search of the web didn’t turn up anything about laundromat nanny cams.

I’ve tried to explain the situation to the employees that work there but between my broken Spanish and their broken English it always ends the same way.  An awkward, quizzical silence.  Somehow I end up apologizing in broken Spanish and making a hasty exit. 

In the meantime, I’m stuck with wearing scentless clothes. I mean, who wants to wear clothes that smell like clothes?  Not this guy.  I want my clothes to smell like a summer breeze or a mountain stream or a teddy bear’s ass, anything but actual clothes.  I’ve backed myself into quite a corner with this mess.  My only option may be to take the dramatic step of walking an extra half block to the next wash and fold laundromat.  I never dreamt it would come to this.

Photo courtesy of Bluejake