Supermarkets

When my wife and I moved into our current apartment in 2003, there were three nearby supermarkets.

The Key Food on Court Street closed a few weeks after we moved there.  It was replaced by a drugstore.  At the time, we didn’t think much about it.

A couple of years ago, the Met Food on Smith Street closed.  It wasn’t the nearest supermarket, but it was close enough, and near a subway station, so it was convenient, and they had good meat.  It now appears that the building will be demolished and replaced with overpriced apartments.

That left the Pathmark, a bigger, almost suburban supermarket in an industrial space by the Gowanus Canal, with a parking lot out front.  But Pathmark is an A&P brand: A&P went bust last year, and the store closed just before Thanksgiving.  (‘A&P,’ short for ‘The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company,’ was one of my earliest childhood memories.  Oh, well….)

One used to be able to take for granted that living in the city meant being no more than 10 minutes’ walk, at the absolute limit, from a functional supermarket.  But not anymore.

Now, there are still plenty of places to buy food:

  • There are a couple of gourmet grocery stores on Court Street, with good produce and really expensive meat.
  • There is a Trader Joe’s on Atlantic Avenue, in a former temple-of-capitalism bank building. Trader Joe’s turns on the notion that if one carefully selects the merchandise, one can have a functional grocery store in a relatively small space.  And it works: about 90% of the foodstuffs we buy come from there.  But the place is maniacally crowded on Sundays and the day before a holiday (or snowstorm).
  • There is a Fairway in Red Hook, about 15 minutes away on the bus. They include a full selection of packaged goods, as well as a full gourmet grocery selection.  But they’re expensive and a bit awkward to get to.
  • And there is the nearest old-school supermarket, the Key Food on Atlantic Avenue. I was in high school when the place opened in the 1970s.  It’s cramped and a bit decrepit.  While it’s a serviceable supermarket, it’s a hike from our apartment.

While we’re not at risk of going hungry, there is no longer one place that we can readily visit that has meats and vegetables and pasta sauce and diet Coke and dish soap and toilet paper, all under one roof, at reasonable prices

While Trader Joe’s has most of the foodstuffs covered, they’re wanting in the packaged goods department.  Some of the drugstores sell detergent and other household items, and cases of soda, but it’s a bit hit-or-miss.

I found that Amazon, of all places, has many of the packaged goods, in larger sizes than the grocery stores (e.g. 27-roll packages of toilet paper), but at competitive prices with free (postal service/UPS) delivery.  It boggles the mind that, someone in a far-off warehouse can box six cans of pasta sauce, and post them to my house, for about the same price (actually a little cheaper!) that I would pay in a supermarket.

The only non-perishables that Amazon doesn’t do well are beverages: bottled water and soda.  I could pay for Prime Fresh, but the extra $200/year over Amazon Prime isn’t worth it.  (Prime Fresh also has groceries—including perishables—for overnight or later-the-same-day delivery.  But having tried them before they raised the price, they’re only so-so at meats and produce.)  But I’ve found other sources for those items, as well.

It used to be so simple, and now it’s gotten so weird.

Hm….very very odd (a “personal” event, not job related)

Since I am just bears and aces for odd happenings today —- wow, that blizzard was brutal and it’s depressing enough that it hit us — try this on for size:

I have a friend I will call Jane. Jane and I have known each other over 2 decades.

She is prone to being a little bizzare but I think this one took the cake:

She seems to have vanished without a sound.

The last time I heard from Jane was maybe a week and a half ago. I do not see her very often; I do not get to hear from her by phone often (and this is annoying too becaue I will leave a message saying hi and she never rings back). I usually hear from her from her workplace; she will email a few times a week and vice versa.

I sent her an email last Monday — there was a little sale and I picked up a buy one the other half off ; I figured I’d give the other one to jane — I told her I had a little something for her and added some small talk and got no reply. I figured she was busy with work or what not. Who reads into that, right?

I didn’t think of this  no reply stuff until maybe Friday — I emailed asking “where are you” and I left a message on Friday asking her if she was okay being the storm kicked in….

No hollaback….

The storm came and went — and no Jane.

She will pull these little “leave of absences” every so often; it is odd and I am not crazy about any of it.

And now I am wondering given all of these oddities, maybe I should let well enough alone and lave well enough alone: do not contact her again.

End this bent — and now what looks to be one sided — friendship[ right here; there are people I know who have done the same: they housecleaned. They got sick of being the pariah, the straight woman, the second or third or fourth fiddle, or tired of being the complaint department, got tired of being the one who had to call them first, etc — they simply houseclean and that is the end of the “friendship.”

Something happened a few months back — I won’t go into detail but I feel like she hocked me into doing it — and I never got a thank you for my efforts.

I find this disappearance odd inasmuch as that we just had that horrifc snowstorm — she knows I more or less am alone back here — where I am living is very isolated and it was downright frigging spooky here when that storm kicked in — and that I do not run with many people — and I never once heard from her at all.

And when she cries over whatever it is and you are there when she cries? Shit, it’s like she expects YOU to fix whatever is wrong right on the spot.

THis is why I am saying this is a disappearance. Fuckall, everybody’s got a cellphone — even her — so there is no reason and no excuse for not calling.

And no. Nothing “happened” to her. Unless you are at death’s door and you positively and absolutely are unable to USE a phone? This is a disappearance.

I refuse to call her again. “You left one message on Friday saying you hope she is safe and secure” — that is what I said, right? And even still, no call back?

Don’t settle for the crumbs or fish where the fishing isn’t good. That is my take on it.

What happened to her and why I am evidently being frozen out, who knows. Did somebody else get into the mix? who knows. Did she start seeing that crazy guy again…and maybe she doesn’t want me to know, and she covered her footprints and footsteps simply by deciding not to speak to me anymore? Who knows. Who knows what it is and who cares.

No more calls and no more emails to Jane. End of story.

Who knows what happened here?  it’s irrational and it is crazy — to me, if you are a full grown adult and you are upset at something a friend said or did:

You have it out with the friend.

You don’t just take off and more or less emotionally blackmail the other person. It’s also juvenile and bullshit:: you vanish and not tells this person how mad you are?

What can I tell you?

Time for a couple new friends. Get a full grown adult who is a great deal more broadminded. You don’t need this kind of scene.

Hello from me

Haven’t been here for awhile; thought I’d check in to see what’s doing and to report what’s new.

Nothing really is new. The partition wrapped up and was over back in September.

How has everyone been?

(where I am living is a little unnerving today — we are in the midst of that hellacious blizzard and where I am living is more than a bit isolated. I am trying to “keep moving” so this doesn’t turn into a chapter of the Shining.)

I hope to be out of here soon and living in a real place, where there are neighbors and everything.

My poor dog went home to his reward around Christmastime. He got sick out of nowhere — he had kidney failure and I knew this back in July.

The vet thinks it might have been a lymphoma — he developed a cough that I did not like and at the end, he refused to eat.

He also developed a nasty swelling underneath his jaw; originally I thought it was abscess — he is nearly 14 and may have a bad tooth back there; a week later, after antibiotics, I felt the area and a lump was still there…and one on the other size also.  Swollen glands despite no fever is bad news.

The cough was some sort of lung involvement, either from the lymphoma or some other issue. That he coughed upon arising from a prone position suggested something that was blocking his lungs or windpipe.

Between July and the end of December, he’d lost 15 pounds — and about 7 of them during the last 2 weeks of his life.

I miss the dog but I cannot possibly get another dog until I move on to a real place to live.

Still applying for jobs — there have been a few ads but nothing promising — and you all remember that “job fair” I went to over a year ago — the company just moved to the town it was in and they were looking to add about 5 or 6 more people?

They said that only 28 people currently worked there. Perhaps 20 cars were in their lot that day.

I took a ride past their building yesterday….and the lot is full of cars. There had to be about 100 cars in the lot versus maybe 15 on the day I went to the job fair — so this is 75 more jobs added in 15 months? Strong.:(

The last time I was in that area was maybe summer — there is an outlet store across the street and I don’t recall noting that a trillion cars were in that parking lot.

I am wondering if the cars are those of just that company or if the building is being shared by another company.

If it’s not “another company” when the heck did this company add all of thjose jobs??? None of the jobs open were made public, either. THis sucks for us — again, we are shit out of luck.

Other than that, nothing new.

My home is gone; it was razed 2 weeks ago by the developer. I stopped past and took photos; I will also return to sprinkle some of my dog’s ashes there. He loved his “newspaper” that used to be out front of the house.”

Donald Trump

Donald Trump burst on the political scene last summer, declaring himself a candidate for President and telling us that he would get Mexico to build a fence on our southern border, because:

When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.

On one level, it was ludicrous: Mexico (i.e. the Mexican government) doesn’t send anyone to the US, except a handful of diplomatic personnel.  The influx of Mexicans represents ordinary people, both good and bad.  (In fact, net migration from Mexico has almost zeroed out in recent years: the US economy has been so rotten that many Mexicans have found better opportunities at home.)  And it strains the imagination to conceive of the means by which Trump would force Mexico to pay for the wall.

But it resonated with many people, including me, because it seems clear that our current leadership is not serious about securing the border, and one of the essential attributes of a place that wants to call itself a ‘country’ is that it has a functioning border.

And Trump has gone on, since then, gaining popularity to the point where he is the leading contender for the Republican Presidential nomination.  It’s been interesting:

  • There was a minor dustup a few months ago when Trump did not did not rebuke a questioner for asserting that President Obama is a Muslim. In fairness, Trump, as a Republican, is a member of the opposition, and doesn’t have a duty to correct what may be a mistaken impression of our President.  But beyond that, a person’s religion is not just the sort of building he visits to pray, or the day he does it: it’s a set of values in one’s soul.  Our Dear Leader has made any number of speeches extolling Islam and deprecating Christianity: judge for yourself.
  • Shortly after, while we were considering admitting Syrian refugees, Trump proposed that we halt all legal admission of Muslims (even for business or tourism!) to the US. That would be, perhaps, a step too far, but far better than admitting tens or hundreds of thousands of refugees.  Contrary to our Dear Leader’s assertions of ‘who we are as a people,’ historically we have restricted entry to the US, either generally or selectively, when we believed that such was in our national interest.  And we have no moral obligation to take refugees from war-torn areas, even where we are one of the belligerents: war is supposed to be a temporary condition, and peace is supposed to return… eventually.  (Alas, our Dear Leader is taking refugees by executive order, and the Republicans, to their eternal discredit, agreed to fund the effort.)
  • In the earlier debates, Trump and Ted Cruz seemed to be, if not allies, at least sharing common views. But more recently, now that Cruz is doing better in the polls, Trump has questioned whether Cruz, born in Canada to a US citizen mother, is eligible to be President.

It is this last point that seems most telling about Trump.  Underneath it all, there are no principles: he does and says whatever advances his interests at the moment.  Cruz was an ally, until he started doing better in the polls and became a threat, and then he wasn’t.

Trump is also one of the croniest of the crony capitalists, having made much of his money by playing local governments to get tax abatements and the like for his projects.  And some of his remarks as a real estate developer give pause.  He remarked that Fifth Avenue in Midtown should be given over to luxury retail, and stores addressing a more modest audience should be elsewhere.  (Alas, I can’t put my hand on the exact quote.)  Fifth Avenue (a stone’s throw from my office) is successful as a commercial venue because it has something for everyone.  It isn’t Rodeo Drive, and I hope it never will be.  There are parts of Manhattan that are given over to luxury retail.  I don’t go there: they’re boring.

Still, Trump is willing to name the elephant in the room that nobody else will dare discuss, and the policy directions that he has discussed so far are at least pointed in the right direction.  And it is for that reason that he is the candidate that, right now, I dislike the least.

Alas, even if he should be elected, I’m sure that, in short order, he’ll turn into just another politician.

Still, one can at least hope.