Growing up with a VERY SOUTHERN MOTHER, I was taught that there are a few things you don't talk about in mixed company (mixed company being anyone who isn't good as blood related to you). These things include adoption, sex, religion, and most importantly--money. Now, having lived in NYC for almost six years has changed this some. New Yorkers talk about money in a very specific way. We talk about rent. Rent control, rent stabilization, rent increases, renters strikes, and so on and so fourth. In some ways it is the great equalizer, just about everyone you know will have a story about their first overpriced apartment with a hole in the ceiling. But there is always that person you know who managed to inherent their aunt so and so's 300$ rent controlled apartment in XYZ neighborhood, reflecting a special sort of NYC real estate nepotism. So, while I have learned to talk about rent (and except that I might never luck out in the rent lottery), I still have a hard time with money.
My parents are very good with their money. Other than a mortgage they never had large amounts of debt, almost always bough their cars outright, and never carried a balance on their credit cards. But somehow I didn't manage to absorb this. I'm not awful with my money, I just seem to always be out of it. I have been trying to be a better budget-er lately, writing down all the money I spend, working overtime when it is offered to me, and resisting sample sales.
Recently my need for a new computer has made sticking to a budget even more important. Because I am always so broke, I can never justify making a big purchase. But I have a bad habit of treating myself to little extravagances, like fancy lipsticks, but these little extravagances add up. So, I have started thinking of things in terms of lipstick, and I think its a pretty good system. For example, a new computer + apple care will be about equal to 55 lipsticks. So, if I can resist buying the next 55 lipsticks I want I can buy a new computer.
1. Do walk on the right side of the sidewalk, keeping to the right—with your right shoulder—or outside, at all times, except when passing.
2. Do let others exit elevators, buildings and public transportation before you attempt to enter them.
3. Do hold doors open for individuals following closely behind you or for someone who may need a little help entering a building or public transportation.
4. Do give up your seat to someone who may need it more than you—the elderly, a caregiver with small children, a woman who is pregnant—when you are taking public transportation.
5. Do be mindful of others when you are talking or texting on your cell phone when you are in public places: Save your private conversations for private locations.
6. Do be sensitive to others’ enjoyment at restaurants, movies, or any other performances or cultural events by not talking on your cell phone, keeping your voice low when you are having a conversation, and conducting yourself with a sense of decorum.
7. Do smile and take time to give tourists directions. (We want tourists to think New Yorkers are polite, friendly, and helpful.)
8. Do eat in restaurants or other appropriate places, such as the park—not on buses, the subway, or walking down the street.
9. Do show respect for our city streets and public places: Throw your trash in trash cans instead of littering.
10. Do be polite and use the magic words: Say “Please” and “Thank You” to the waitstaff in restaurants, salespeople in stores, and whenever or wherever the situation calls for a “Please” or “Thank You.”
And of course, there's plenty more etiquette tips you overachievers can follow.
I am getting settled in my new apartment and am pretty excited to have some sort of housewarming something. I am not sure exactly how I will do this, considering my living room/kitchen is probably about 10 x 10.... but I have some ideas!
Everett Ruess with two donkeys in the Southwest in the 1930s
I am in the process of moving to a new apartment and as often happens in NYC there was a little overlap between me and the girl moving in to replace me. So, I spent this last week as a bit of a vagabond, living out of a back pack and a totebag between a few friends houses. I am very thankful to have such lovely friends. I made sure to write them thank you notes and give them hostess gifts.