Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Witterings

I’m so over tired today; I barely slept a wink last night. My brain was whirling after working for most of the day and I couldn’t quite seem to switch off. I think I managed about 4hours sleep in total, so not quite as refreshed and ready for work as I’d hoped after a 3-day weekend. Today looks as if it will be a highly caffeinated day.

The weekend was good anyway, as I mentioned it was a 3-day one for President’s Day, although really only a typical 2day weekend for me as I spent Monday working; developing materials for a training course I’m teaching this week. Saturday and Sunday were great though, low key as I'd hoped. I really didn’t do that much at all to speak of, except for dinner with Deesha on Saturday and a movie with Betsy on Sunday, so today is a very slow news day on the blog. It felt good though to limit my plans and get the time to myself I'd been craving, I also gave my apartment a thorough cleaning - it’s spotless, I love it - and I actually have food in my cupboards after a trip down to Trader Joe's first thing on Sunday morning. I’ve had little time to shop in the last couple of weeks with work and what not, so I've been subsisting on a diet of peanut butter on toast. Not a very grown up dinner eh?

There are few things in New York that test my patience quite as much as a trip to Trader Joe's. For the uninitiated Trader Joe’s is a popular American supermarket chain which the people in New York became unimaginably excited about a couple of years ago when the company announced they were opening a store in Manhattan. New Yorkers were gagging for the place to open and when it finally did, in the spring of 2006, the store was so popular that supposedly cool New Yorkers queued out the door, awaiting their chance to grocery shop.

Have you ever heard of such a thing, a supermarket so popular it had a ‘one in, one out’ policy like a night club?

Two years on people are no longer queuing to get in, but it’s still very popular and a nightmare to do your shopping there. Within an hour of opening the line to check out snakes halfway around the store. I’d hazard a guess that, in terms of the number of resident New Yorkers/square foot, the density of Trader Joe’s is second only to the subway. Well, okay, that could be an exaggeration; it just feels that way when you’re trying to squeeze through all the shoppers crammed into their tiny aisles to grab a box of couscous. Every day feels like grocery shopping on the last day before Christmas or Thanksgiving and although most are polite there’s always a few with a manic gleam in their eye who care little for those unfortunate souls who happen to cross their path. I suspect these shoppers are the same people who shoulder their way onto the subway without letting people off first. There's many a time I've sported the bruises from being side swiped with a trolley by overly aggressive shoppers. I feel lucky if I leave completely unscathed.

There’s only one time I’ve ever enjoyed shopping at Trader Joe’s was after Francesca and I had drunk one too many glasses of Sancerre with our pork buns at Momofuku Ssam one Sunday evening and decided to pop in for a few groceries on the way home. I have to say that grocery shopping while slightly drunk is infinitely more fun than shopping while sober; although admittedly a lot less practical as I was seduced into buying a lot of party foods I didn’t need. I had appetizers for dinner for the next fortnight after that particular shopping spree.

The food is good though and relatively inexpensive when compared to the likes of Whole Foods, which is why, having woken up at 7.30am on Sunday morning, I decided to take a chance on it being quiet first thing and popped down to replenish my pantry. The place opens at 9am. I walked in at 9.04am and the place was heaving. I couldn’t believe it. Heaving!! Who gets up at that time on a Sunday morning? Why weren’t all these people in bed like normal human beings? Ahem!! Anyway, since I was already there I took a deep breath, grabbed a basket and dived in and managed to buy about a months worth of food, but I’m battered and bruised as a result and not at all keen on venturing in there again any time soon. I feel traumatized and think I’d rather eat peanut butter on toast for the rest of my days.

Later on Sunday I met Betsy - my upstairs neighbour of 3years who I randomly met for the first time on the gallery tour in Chelsea last weekend - and we headed downtown to the Sunshine Cinema on Houston St to see the new Woody Allen movie, Cassandra’s Dream, the one where Ewan MacGregor and Colin Farrell play brothers who commit a murder.

It was okay, 6/10, not a patch on Match Point, although in a similar vein. I found myself more than a little distracted by Ewan MacGregor’s stilted performance and by the fact that much of it was filmed in two pubs I used to frequent when I lived in London; the Pembroke Castle in Primrose Hill and The Rutland in Hammersmith. Colin Farrell was good in it though which surprised me. I’m generally not a fan of Mr. Farrell. A friend of mine thinks he’s pure sex on a stick; but I always think he looks like he needs a good wash* and have generally remained immune to his charms. The only time I’ve ever found him vaguely attractive was while watching the movie SWAT at the cinema a few years ago when my parents were visiting. For some reason he appealed to me in that movie and I started to think I might be realizing what my friend saw in him after all, that was until my Mum leaned over and whispered “don’t you think he has a look of Kevin Webster from Coronation St?” And there ended any fleeting attraction I’ve ever had to Colin Farrell.

Separated at birth? Colin is the one on the left in case you were having a hard time telling them apart ;-)


*I felt much the same about Michael Hutchence from INXS. I suppose bad boy types don’t really do much for me.

15 comments:

Bangs and a Bun said...

The Colin Farrell/Kevin Webster comparison has just blown my mind.

thewishfulwriter said...

sounds like a perfect weekend!

i LOVE having a clean house and a full pantry. I feel so accomplished and relaxed. We try to clean on Friday nights so that we have the whole weekend to enjoy it. One day, i'll have a maid...she says, hoping it's true.

isn't it funny that you have to meet your upstairs neighbor at a gallery crawl somewhere else? :)

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Bun, I know, I could never look at Colin Farrell in the same light after my mum said that :-)

Hi Heather, it was very nice, I felt very grown up having a tidy home with food in the cupboards. It's been a while since it's been like that. A maid would be wonderful, my friend has one, I am sooooo jealous, but it costs her $60 and I would rather spend the money on wine ;-)

Blur Ting said...

Maybe everyone's thinking like you! That is to get to the store first thing on a sunday morning when it'll be quiet! Anyway, the last thing anyone needs is a crowded supermarket! Grocery shopping should be a pleasant and therapeutic experience.

I remember going to Whole Foods when I live for several months in California and was shocked at the prices of the organic oranges. I was thinking to myself, for the price of 1 orange, I could buy an entire bag back home. Oh well, maybe that's why we make less money back home.

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hey Blur Ting, I think you are right, everyone had the same idea as me. I'd been in there once before at 10am though and it was dead, so I was hoping to have the store to myself :-)

Ha Ha Sound said...

I've never been in Trader Joe's, although there's one about 10 mins from my apartment (the one on Union Square). I'll have to check it out sometime, but I will wear shoulder pads.

And BTW, as for your post below, a tip: when in Soho and you need to use the bathroom, go to the Soho Grand. They're clean, huge and always empty. Right off the lobby, too.

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Don't do it Ha Ha, that's the only Trader Joes in Manhattan and it's an absolute nightmare.

miss dish said...

I'm never going to watch corrie in the same way... but i fear the lust i once felt for colin has been smothered!!!!

The_Mrs said...

I'm fascinated by the grocery store you mentioned.

God I hate shopping for groceries when it's NOT packed asses and elbows. I'd rather beat my clothes on a rock in a river to wash them, then to go into that grocery store.

Ugh!


Glad you had a good weekend though. :)

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Miss Dish, thanks for stopping by. Sorry about smothering your lust for Colin though.

Hey Mrs, I'm no fan of grocery shopping either. I should just do it all online, but even waiting in for the delivery bugs me ;-)

sid said...

I can not imagine a supermarket that is so jam packed. It's ... weird.

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hey Sid, yeah it's bizarre. The food is pretty good, and inexpensive so I think that's the reason. They need a bigger store.

Amel's Realm said...

EEEEKKKKK...grocery shopping in such a crowded place is definitely not enjoyable, esp. after having lived in this quiet place for almost a year. No longer queue than 4-5 people at the most...usually only 1-3 people in front of you he he he...

And glad to hear that you managed to slow yourself down last weekend. ENJOY this weekend! As usual Sundays are my sleeping days ha ha ha...

And bad boy types aren't my types, either. HE HE HE HE HE HE HE...

I'm SO sleepy (I always am on Fridays), but I'm REALLY happy today. I'll write about it later HE HE HE HE HE...

Flowers On A Friday said...

kevin webster! that is fantastic. your mum has burnt that connection into my mind. ha!

p.s. i hate food shopping with such a passion!

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Amel, almost every decent grocery store in New York is packed, Trader Joes is doubly so. Glad you are feeling really happy. Me too, I have the day off work :-)

Hi Flowers, yeah there's enough of a similarity that I can't look at Colin Farrell in the same way again :-)