Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Winter's Fool

"April is the cruellest month" but a few 80-degree days in mid-march certainly are a cheap-shot to the inseam.

Days ago, I walked with my jacket over my shoulder under deep blue Boston skies and flowering trees along Commonwealth Avenue.

A friend asked me why I wanted a photo of his shoes.  "Is this normal for lunch guests?" he asked.  "Just stand still while I photograph your shoes with my phone."  It seemed odd the moment I said it.

The following week, the wind pushed up white-caps on the harbor, the Charles River, and even Jamaica Pond.  Visible breath reappeared and the evenings were filled with the sounds of storm windows screeching closed again, followed by the rumble of sash-weighted wooden windows reclosing after a week of fresh-aired sleeping nights.

Windy and cold stroll to the office.  Gloves and thoughts of conversations from an earlier breakfast with Jr. accompanied me.

A spring scarf.  I couldn't bring myself to wrap wool.  Hopeless optimism, I suppose.

My quiet-day-at-the-office Mr. Rogers routine during winter.  The jacket was all of $10 at a consignment shop in Vermont.  It's a tiny-waled corduroy from Ralph Lauren.  Miraculously, it needed no alterations.

This sweater from Lands End cost me about $5 but it was an extra-extra large (with suede elbow patches).  Felting in the washing machine and dryer brought it into my size.

A morning stop by the cafe where televisions play news feeds from Italy and Portugal.  Over a decade of friends buying friends coffees back and forth.  No tallies kept.

*Blogger's note: When did "I'm good" or "I'm all set" become an acceptable substitute for "No thank you"?


  1. "*Blogger's note: When did "I'm good" or "I'm all set" become an acceptable substitute for "No thank you"? "

    When it all became about me, me, me, me.

  2. While we're on weird trendy expressions, what's the origin of "Reach Out" as a synonym for phone call? Sounds like ad-speak and it grates on me like crazy! Thought it was just one weirdo, but now I hear it everywhere . . .

  3. I must admit, I favor the crisp air even in the spring. We still open the windows at night and just add more comforters. The "No tallies kept" is quite wonderful.

  4. What tips do you have for shrinking sweaters in the wash? After fruitlessly searching for women's shetland sweaters, I ended up buying one in a size small, but it most certainly needs to be trimmed down. Any things NOT to do?

  5. From an outsider perspective, because "No, thank you" can potentially offend people?

  6. As a non-native Bostonian living and working in the city, I have never heard the term "all set" used so prolifically. Must be a local trait.

  7. Just when I thought "No problem" was bad enough for "You are welcome", it has now turned to "No problemo" here.

  8. I detest when waiters or other service personnel say" No Problem." Of course it is not a is in your job description for Chrissake. When I owned the jazz Club...where you and I quaffed several pints....servers were forbidden from using that phrase.

  9. I guess I don't really mind any sort of genial reply. "All set" said in a talk-to-the-hand tone would set my teeth on edge, but a "No, thanks, all set," or an "I'm good," said with a smile, seems fine to me.

    But, no problemo, it's all good, happy to help, no worries!

  10. I won't lie. I use both, and I also use "no problem." I shouldn't, and I try not to, but I do. Although I more commonly use, "It's what I'm here for." Because helping others... really should be what we're here for. I also say genuinely, non-ironically, and not even a least bit affectedly, "Much obliged" instead of "thank you." I've done that all my life, and it's always an unpleasant experience when someone thinks I'm being sarcastic or elitist when I say it.

  11. I was also going to bring up "No problem" in place of "You're welcome." I notice it most at work when I thank a person for a job well done, and they respond with "no problem". A nod to the previous anonymous and Main line- It's rathter an obnoxious thing, especially at work. You are here to do this job and then tell me it's not a problem for you, I should hope not.

  12. *Turling: Me, me, me, me is exactly right... though because I keep a blog on the subject of me, me, me, me, I need to be careful about stone throwing.

    *Greenfield: The whole "reach out" thing seems to stem from the need to put a heroic spin on the subject of calling someone to solicit in some form.

    *Lady Aldrich: I love cold-air sleeping, but Mrs. has veto power.

    *Anon 8:02: Try a warm-water wash with a tiny amount of detergent and then a tumble in the dryer.

    *Chen: I don't think that it offends, as long as it's not dismissive. The "thank you" part of no thank you is still important.

    *Anon 2:37: I hear it all across the country, not just Boston. I hope that it is not our export.

    *Anon 3:29: "No problemo" really stinks. It puts the 'lame-o' in 'no-problemo'.

    *Mainline: We did have many pints... and I recall the impeccable staff.

    *Kionon: As long as you come off as genuine, you're in safe territory, but mind that slick surface.

    *Anon 6:14: I couldn't agree more. At the office, when a manager or executive thanks you for completing a task, 'you're welcome' is barely accurate... I think that 'Yes, Sir' or 'at your service' is better, but good luck getting any appropriate humility from the new generation of workers these days. And for the record, the recent Ivy League graduates are now just as incompetent as the rest. See Turling's comment above.


Let's keep it clean... but if you DO have to get foul, at least give it a bit of wit. Also, advertising disguised as comments will be deleted, unless it is clever.