Ms. CRANKY'S HAT, well, one of them

Ms. CRANKY'S HAT, well, one of them

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


One day this spring Ms. Cranky gave herself an afternoon off; it was a Friday, with lovely lilting weather.  She treated herself to a late lunch at a lovely little restaurant in the hood. There are more and more great lunch specials.  This place served light, healthy food but it was plentiful, under $7, with yet a doggie bag to take away and the atmosphere was sleek and quiet.
Ms. Cranky got all calm and happy.  It takes very little to please her. While she lunched, she read and started to work on an article. There were a few other people, friendly guys working a city road crew, quietly talking at other tables up the way.  Everyone seemed to be in a good mood.  Why not?  --- It was a beautiful spring Friday late afternoon.  Cranky sat near the front window where there was lots of light.  All was serene.  The weekend would be busy as usual but this was Ms. Cranky’s time.
Then, a small woman opened the door, screamed across the long space to ask if she was still in time for the lunch special and Cranky means this woman really screamed. And, though there were many empty seats all around, she plopped, literally, down next to Ms. Cranky and threw her huge heavy purse just about onto Ms. C’s lap.  She like hauled it over a banquette or whatever those things are called.
The woman, small in stature, big in tone, wanted the window behind her closed --- and she wanted it closed immediately.  She wanted this for lunch and that for a drink; everything she wanted was shouted even when the waiter stood right in front of her.  But, usually she chose to communicate with him by hollering from her seat to the farthest end of the bar where he was valiantly trying to place orders.
Suddenly, Ms. Cranky’s happy reverie was over.  It was hard to concentrate on writing or even on the newspaper.  Then, the woman pulled out her cell phone and screamed into that with great anger --- but, of course.  Then, she decided that she not only wanted her window closed, she wanted Ms. Cranky’s window to be opened.  That’s when Cranky finally spoke up and said that she was very happy with the window the way it was.  It was still cool outside; the wonderful soft sunlight was enough for her.  And, Cranky must again reiterate that there were many other seats the woman could have conquered; the place isn’t huge but fairly spacious for the area.
By now, Cranky was rushing as fast as she could to finish her lunch and get out of there; she felt pushed out and she was.  Her great Friday afternoon lunch treat to herself was quickly ending, her thinking time eradicated.  It was like a tiny fierce tornado walked into the restaurant and blew everything asunder.  Even the guys over on the other side, the guys who had been working on the street were looking over at Cranky and making ‘I-understand-sympathetic faces’.  Cranky was grateful for that.
And, when Ms. Cranky went up to the end of the bar to pay her bill, the waiter said “Please, please --- stay, relax, keep reading your paper, she always does this” but Ms. C. murmured that she had errands to do.  She didn’t say that it was no fun being there anymore but it wasn’t.
The woman, though small in stature, had entered a peaceful lovely establishment and virtually bull dozed its peace --- just like that.  And, then, while Ms. Cranky  was still at the bar paying her bill, the woman slid across the banquette and took over her seat --- but, Cranky’s purse was still there, her shopping bag, her doggie bag, her beloved new spring jacket hung over the back of the chair across the table.  The woman simply pushed all of Cranky’s things aside and moved over.
The very sweet and usually mild-mannered waiter witnessed the ‘take over’ of Cranky’s table and her things and actually hollered to the woman --- “Wait, you can’t do that; this woman hasn’t even gone yet, leave her things alone.”
But shortly after that, Ms. Cranky emerged onto the street gasping for air.  Bull dozer, tornado, call it what you will.  The woman had pushed her out, upset the other customers and left the poor dear waiter to deal with her.
Sometimes, Ms. Cranky thinks it would be great if she were a bit more assertive in asking for what she wants but this was not that situation, this was not about a woman being assertive.  This was about a woman who knew how to clear a place.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Ms. Cranky had a wonderful weekend, the murky humid hot cloudy days were over for a bit and for two whole days, there were blue skies, sun and soft lilting breezes and she tooled around between her little ‘odd jobs’ getting in supplies for the house and inadvertently walked right into the Grand Opening for a new paint store, yes, paint like Ms. Cranky’s apartment sorely needs. 
The Grand Opening of the paint store was with lots of people she knew from the neighborhood, complete with politicians and civic leaders, a red ribbon cutting, beautiful little children and champagne like at 11 a. m. on a Saturday morning!  And, even more so, lots of little hors d'oeuvres (now there’s a term Ms. C. always has to look up for spelling!).
Cranky is trying valiantly here not to mention the handsome waiters delivering all this food and drink on trays but she can’t resist (the woman waitperson was lovely too!).  And, to be so handsome so early in the day!  How do they do that?  The event with pleasant people, a lovely shop, funny and wonderfully short speeches, food and drink, all put Cranky in a great mood for dragging her groceries home.
When she got home, she, as always, after putting things away, went carefully through her receipt to check charges.  There are many incorrect charges on receipts but Ms. Cranky (unlike some upsetting people) doesn’t like to hold up lines while she checks them in the store, so waits until she’s home.  Then, sometimes it’s enough to make her cry. 
There was just one mistake this time and, though Ms. Cranky does not like to think of herself as cheap because she isn’t.  She, of necessity, has to be frugal.  She had bought a loaf of bread, decent bread costs a lot of money these days, Cranky finds.  It’s close to $5 for the healthy stuff so she always looks for the packages with the bright red $2.50 or $2.99 special labels and goes with those.
But, though she had gotten bread Saturday with the $2.99 bright red sticker on it, she was charged $4.69 for it.  At first she thought it must be her mistake, she must have picked up the wrong loaf of bread but when she went into the kitchen to look, there was the big bright red $2.99 sign.  C. hates taking things back at all and fears seeming a ‘bother’, but, mostly, she hates a bad attitude from a store manager when she has to take something back.  It can feel like you’re the one who’s wrong, that’s how some managers make you feel
But, she couldn’t let this go, it was almost $2 and she’d rather donate it to a mariachi band on the subway!
So, in her wanderings later, she stopped back in the supermarket, showed the bread with the $2.99 sign on it and the receipt which had charged her $4.69.  The manager seemed sullen (maybe, Cranky was reading into it but she doesn’t think so).  Well, he certainly wasn’t pleasant, let’s put it that way.  He took her things away into his office to check his books so now she felt like she was really wrong.  But, the books must have checked out correctly because he came out from the office and, without a word, handed Ms. Cranky her receipt and package back, went to the cash register, pulled out the money she was owed and handed it to her with this angry look on his face (again, maybe Ms. Cranky was imagining this but she doesn’t think so, it had happened before).  He did not speak to her and certainly did not offer an apology, not a word was said.  Ms. Cranky, who is a sensitive soul, left the supermarket feeling like she had done something wrong, like she had charged the incorrect price. 
But, as her friend Phil always says about these ‘mistakes’ on receipts --- “You know isn’t it funny that the mistake is never in favor of the customer?”  Phil will make Cranky feel better about all this and she thinks too, after years of similar occurrences, though the store is ‘convenient’, she’s not going to go back there anymore.   There’s gotta be an easier way, don’t you think, readers?  And, a kinder way to treat a faithful customer.

Friday, July 8, 2011


Ms. Cranky likes the word ‘natural’ as much as anybody; she is not a fake plasticy kind of person.   She cleans with simple safe products and has done so for years.  But, sometimes she does wonder how far this natural thing can go?
Like today, for instance, Ms. C. called up a company that made a product she was using that she was worried about and they quickly said “Don’t worry, it can’t hurt you, IT HAS ALL NATURAL INGREDIENTS!”  Ms. Cranky thanked the woman, hung up the phone and thought --- ‘so is deadly nightshade natural, so is a rattlesnake sunning himself in the woods’.  But, you don’t eat deadly nightshade and you hope never to step on a rattlesnake --- ouii.
Cranky feels that natural is good and surely a lot better than phony but Ms. Cranky has to wonder how far to carry this thing?
Like the woman in the Laundromat where Cranky goes --- a dinky little over-crowded Laundromat with a myriad of problems --- you could get clobbered over who’s next for the dryer.  It’s a battle, one Cranky dreads and puts off, though she loves the staff and the Laundromat is kept very clean. It’s just too small for all the people who come there and especially with some people thinking they are more important than the rest of us, if you get Ms. Cranky’s drift.
But one day at the Laundromat, this woman was blithely spraying something all over the place as she took the stains out of her laundry there in a public place instead of at home.  Ms. Cranky always gets nervous around sprays, some are really toxic and she avoids them when at all possible so she was ducking around under the folding tables trying to get away from this woman’s spray coming at her face and, finally, asked the woman what was in the can?
“Oh, it’s nothing, just stain removal but it’s all SAFE, it’s all “NATURAL!” the woman quickly retorted --- there goes that word again.  And, Cranky thought while rolling her cart home hoping not to drag her tee shirts on the ground if she hit a bump --- ‘but, all natural isn’t good or they wouldn’t have lists of poisons to avoid, plants your pet shouldn’t go near, foods that taste great but, if you’re allergic, can just about kill you’.  ouii.
“Natural” --- Ms. Cranky wonders if the term is being overused in our current society and how she, we, can get some bearing on it, some correct definition.
So, she’d love to hear your thoughts on this word and whether all products saying natural are truly safe to squirt in someone’s face?
Thanks for stopping by, it’s always a pleasure to talk with you.

Old Ms. C.