Saturday, November 20, 2004
Cold and raining
NaNoWriMo Daily Cheer: You are two thirds of the way to the finish line. Way to go!!!
Managed to get an issue and a half of Charlotte done yesterday morning. Woodes Rogers was supposed to be a peripheral character, but he’s as enigmatic and charismatic in this piece as he seems to have been in life, and has placed himself in a much more central position in the plot than I expected – Woodes, you sly dog, you! You know what that means, don’t you? Both Daniel Defoe and Jonathan Swift may end up making an appearance.
The city is teeming with a particularly disgusting brand of tourist: The SFT – Stupid Fucking Tourist (pardon my language).
It’s great when people who are genuinely excited visit the city. They’re full of enthusiasm, they want to learn everything, they want to experience everything. Even if their questions are slightly off the wall, the questions come from such an excited place within them that it’s a pleasure to ask them. I’ve often been in a subway car when a tourist asked for directions, and the entire car entered a heated discussion on the different ways to get somewhere.
Then, there’s the SFT. They forget that they’re guests in the town. Their behavior is rude, boorish and unacceptable. They shove people so they get a better view of the holiday windows. They cut in lines at the deli, the restrooms and on the bus. They stand in the middle of 7th Avenue taking photographs and wonder why cars are honking at them. They walk down the street talking and waving their arms, hitting people as they walk past and then blaming other people for being rude.
And this: the teenagers from Podunk who dart into traffic, screaming and waving their arms, who think it’s funny to cause accidents.
Yesterday, I witnessed this on the way to work and the teen said, in her typical snotty cheerleader voice: “They have to stop for pedestrians. I can do whatever I want.” I was waiting for her to say this was part of Bush’s mandate – since everyone who behaves badly lately claims Bush’s re-election gives them the right to do so. But she didn’t.
“Actually,” I said. “Drivers don’t have to stop for pedestrians in NY.” All their little jaws dropped to the sidewalk, one by one. “In fact, we give out points, based on the stupidity of the pedestrian. In your case, I’d award 250 to the first cab driver to flatten you.”
They shut up and waited for the light to change before crossing in the crosswalk. Yeah, New Yorkers jaywalk all the time. But we know how to do it, and we don’t dash into traffic because we think it’s “fun.”
Day work was fine. Everything got done. Everyone’s overworked and overtired and we haven’t even gotten into the holiday schedule yet.
Stopped at the book store. Got books on the Bahamas, Barbados, Iceland, Scottish Castles (they have beautiful photos of many of the castles I’ve visited), a mystery, and a book on Venice, which I bought just because it looked pretty. I forgot to get a book on Price Edward Island, gosh darn it.
Two interesting facts about Iceland:
The literacy rate is 100%.
People use only first names. The “surname” is the father’s name + the Icelandic word for son or daughter. When women marry, they keep their birth name because they can’t become someone else’s son or daughter. Interesting. And slightly confusing.
Searched for a book on Vietnamese folktales without luck. I need to find some more specifics for the grant proposal.
Should have written last night, but was too tired.
Will work on Charlotte some more before catching n 11 o’clock train. I’m working the matinee at Rent today.