Jessica Gross

Archive for November, 2008|Monthly archive page


In quotables on November 24, 2008 at 6:01 pm

“You’re TOO CLOSE to me. Once I hear you talking, you’re too close.”

– Man walking in front of me and two coworkers on Park Avenue


Subway Kids

In musings, people watching on November 20, 2008 at 11:51 am

Last night, two women boarded the uptown 1 with twin boys, aged seven. (I’m bad at guessing age, so i call any kid between five and 11 a seven-year-old.) These were raucous children. They wanted “window seats,” which apparently means the seats underneath the subway windows, which have no view 90 percent of the time. They also repeatedly threatened to bite their mother’s hands. She laughed.

The second woman, aware of other passengers’ scorn, tried to joke. “Anyone want two boys?” she asked the rest of the car. “Twins, very quiet.” No response.
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Overheard at the Bus Stop

In quotables on November 19, 2008 at 1:27 pm

Seventy-year-old woman: HelLO, Tom!

Stodgy, middle-aged man turns around.

Old woman: Oh, you look just like Tom! He’s — Tom — he lives across the street…Tom, my neighbor…

Not-Tom’s wife (snarling): It’s MIKE.

Me (to the wife, in my head): The chance that the old lady is hitting on your husband is zero percent. You should be so lucky.

Trader Joe’s Gripe

In musings, people watching on November 18, 2008 at 6:52 pm

The Union Square Trader Joe’s staff members are helpful and cheerful. The customers are often less than pleasant.

Some background: I love Trader Joe’s. I’m a walking ad — I talk up Trader Joe’s about as much as I blab about my current top-five ranking of ice cream flavors (a lot). I brave the lines, the chaos, and the mean shoppers for the staff, the prices, and the high-quality food. But I have to tell you a story.
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Looking Young

In musings on November 17, 2008 at 12:50 pm

I’m 23, but I don’t look it. I don’t just mean I get carded — I mean that whenever I’m asked my age, I’m assaulted. “Twenty-three? You look like you’re in high school!”

When I tell the kind lady or gentleman that yes, I am 23, but I get that a lot, I get this: “You’ll appreciate it when you’re older.” (In hundreds of renditions, the conversation has never strayed from this script.)

But a friend raised a good question this weekend: does looking young when you’re young really translate to looking young when you’re old? I pondered, and now I’m not so sure. Looking young when you’re young is the product of facial features and body type. A round face looks younger than a long, cheekboned one; a small person looks younger than someone tall or stocky. But when you’re past, say, 40 years old, it’s the hair color and the wrinkles that make the difference. The grayer and wrinklier you are, the older you’ll look. So a young-looking 20-something’s round face might mean squat once the wrinkles set in — right?

I’m really just looking for reassurance here, so if you have counter-evidence, please comment.

Bus Driver Buddies

In musings, people watching on November 13, 2008 at 12:04 pm

Yesterday morning, at the intersection of York and 68th, our M31 bus driver laughed and waved.

I looked out the window to see who he was waving to. It was another MTA driver making a right onto York, in front of our bus.

Did they see each other at this intersection every morning? I wondered if they looked forward to the daily meet-and-greet.

But wait — did they know each other outside of these waving sessions? Maybe they’d never actually spoken, but had just seen each other at this intersection so many times they’d become familiar from afar! I imagined their eventual meeting after so many silent hellos:
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Back to the Bus People

In musings on November 12, 2008 at 1:52 pm

I’ve argued repeatedly that bus people are nicer. My brother visited a couple of weekends ago, and while on the bus, I repeated this, apparently my favorite and only sound byte.

“Well, yeah,” he said. “They know they’re going to be on the bus for a long time.”

Is that it? Are bus people just nicer than subway people because they’re committed to an indefinitely long journey? I prefer a cool self-selection theory, or something that involves old people. Thoughts?


In quotables on November 12, 2008 at 12:26 am

“I have to apologize. Years of amphetamine use have made me very shaky.”

– A nervous presenter at tonight’s NY Tech Meetup.

Singing in Public

In musings on November 10, 2008 at 1:59 pm

Confession: the day after I lambasted creepy subway singing, I caught myself singing, and not softly, as I walked on a UES sidewalk. What’s worse? I was singing this.

In the days since, I’ve discovered this wasn’t an isolated occurrence. I sing on the street all the time. Broadway show tunes (yes, even Rent), classical music I pretend I can do a cappella, MGMT’s Kids.

To the subway singers of the world: my apologies.

The Police

In musings, people watching on November 7, 2008 at 1:42 pm

Not these guys! Ha ha!

Last night I was waiting for the bus at 14th and 1st, and noticed a line of at least 10 police cars sitting on 1st Avenue. What were they doing there? At first I was nonchalant. After five minutes of pondering I had to figure out what they were up to.

I sidled up to a police car with its window cracked open. I was about to ask, “What are you guys doing here?” but, at the last minute, decided that sounded threatening, and these people had guns. “Do the police always hang out here?” (Smooth.)

“No, we’re not hanging out,” said the policewoman in the passenger seat.

Hmm. “Are you…on a call?” I tried.


As punishment, all 10 police cars lit their blindy lights, damaging my retinas. Then they left.

Mystery unsolved. Any clues? Comment.