Sunday, March 11, 2012

Confronting Buddy (3.11.2012)

I am originally from New York State by way of Poughkeepsie and later in my life, New York City. My little Italian grandmother, who worked at a major department store in Jamaica, Queens for most of her life, used to make sure that my brother and I came into New York several times a year. The timeline on these visits usually coincided with some Rockettes spectacular at Radio City Music Hall, and was usually followed by a lunch at the French restaurant in Rockefeller Plaza where my brother and I would insist on only eating cheeseburgers.

I have a vivid memory of being treated to lunch one day at such a place and ordering a cheeseburger. In reply, one of the French waiters told my grandmother, "We do not serve le cheeseburger, madame." Whereupon, my grandmother promptly gathered us up and we went to an establishment that did serve le cheeseburger. I suppose that would be one way to deal with confrontation -- with either me or with the waiter -- by avoiding it.  

But when I think of confrontation, I think of living and working in New York where confrontation is pretty much a daily occurrence. Of course, in New York, we don't think of it as confrontation. We think of it as speaking your peace, kibitzing, or stating the facts as you see them in a live and let live kind of way. Riding the subway, getting your coffee, walking down the street, answering the phone -- all of it is pretty much civil but when things go wrong and you need to hold forth, these euphemism are your ally.

So in this regard, I did a funny thing the other day: I actually tried to speak my peace, state the facts as I saw them, hold forth and otherwize kibitz wantonly with someone on TV. For some reason, Kitchen Boss was on TV. This is the brand extension from the same folks who brought you Cake Boss about the baker-guy from New Jersey. I don't usually watch this show as this guy is nearly too Italian for me to watch. He had a DIY segment featuring an expert cheesemaker on How to Make Mozzarella. I was gobsmacked. I didn't mind that he was featuring the segment, but it seemed ridiculous to me that he was watching and shaking his head and saying things like, "Really? Is that right? I never knew that." I couldn't restrain myself from yelling at him in my best New York accent with impressive tinges of Mob Wives (I'm half-Italian). Here's what I said:

And it really made me crazy watching this guy pretend that this other guy was showing him something new. He was probably making moots-sa-rell when he was seven.

I know it was a little crazy (O.K., it was a lot crazy) but I really felt better when I was done yelling at the TV. I really gave my Sony Bravia a piece of my mind and held forth (past tense of hold forth) pretty impressively. Since I haven't had the chance to get back to New York in quite a while, it made me feel better that I am keeping up my skills in such a meaningful way.


  1. LOL...that was great! Thanks! I lived in Manhattan and Brooklyn for a year in the late 90's and I remember that about the place. It was easy to say what you thought and no one really took it personally. I lived on the West Coast in the Bay Area for 16 years and loved it, but I was always a bit to open with my opinions to really fit in. I never thought of it as confrontation, but my wife assures me that everyone else does! LOL

  2. Thanks Michael! That's a great way to say it: "no one takes it personally." Everyone has an opionion, expresses it, and somehow it's all part of the Circle of Life...LOL. I miss that!