Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Peripatetic and tired

My problem is that I did two things this weekend instead of one. Nothing terrible happened, but I came back drained yesterday after driving to Poughkeepsie on Saturday for a memorial service for a wonderful English professor, spending the night at the Vassar Alumnae House, then driving to Riverdale for a family Hanukkah party the next day, staying overnight at an Airbnb, then driving back yesterday in the fog and, on the anniversary of the Sandy Hook shootings, listening to an NPR program about our epidemic of gun violence.

Also, for the first time ever, I forgot my pills. My pills always travel with me. I had not gotten around to putting them in their pill boxes, so I had the whole bag ready on the counter...and left it there.

The two events happened to be geographically connected, so it made sense to do it. I enjoyed walking around Vassar with an old friend and seeing how much nicer the little area of Arlington has become; the main attraction back then was Pizza Town, in which the owner, George, presided over the creation of White Lightenings, drinks comprised of every kind of white liquor he had. Luckily, it was across the street from campus, and we could walk (stumble) back to our dorms. The town has some nicer restaurants now.

The chapel was filled with people remembering the English professor who often wrote long, literary comments on our papers. He was kind and funny and supportive of my writing, and on days when I was unhappy at Vassar, I felt better after his class.

The ride on Sunday to Riverdale was short and easy, although I did not listen to the book on tape that I got because the first disc was missing. I listened to an a program about Jeffrey Schmalz, the New York Times reporter who transformed news coverage of AIDS (and who died of it at a young age) and is the subject of a book, Dying Words. If my kids are reading this, they might be thinking, "Mom, listen to some music! Stop with the death and dying!" But programs such as On the Media and The Takeaway hold my interest, so that is what I do.

I enjoyed seeing family at the Hanukkah party and eating some "to die for" New York deli food. I do not normally eat this kind of thing, but I practically inhaled the best over-stuffed corned beef with a side of coleslaw and potato salad, followed by melt-in-your mouth cheesecake that my cousin Anne made.

The apartment was too small to accommodate me, so I had walked about a mile from the apartment where I was staying in a room rented through Airbnb and then got a ride "home." It was the only time I have had a problem with an Airbnb. The host had told me to park my car in front of the building, but when I came back Monday morning after getting a bagel and a Starbucks, I saw that I was getting a ticket. I ran to the car but it was too late. I was on the wrong side of the street for alternate-side-of-the-street parking for street cleaning. All these years that I have sat in cars and moved them for street cleaning in Manhattan, I go to the Bronx and get a ticket that could have been avoided.

I went upstairs and said I thought he should either pay the ticket ($45) or refund me the price of the room ($45). His response was along the lines of, "Are you talkin to me?" He said he didn't know about the parking rules because he has his own special spot. I said that as a host of an Airbnb, you are supposed to know your neighborhood. I said I was going to write a positive review but now I would have to point this out. Finally he said he would split it with me...if I wrote a positive review.

Airbnb has a dispute resolution form that you can fill out. He wanted to avoid it so we made the arrangement via text. I said I would go ahead and write the review and he agreed to refund the money. When I told him that I had done it, he said he needed to wait the three days until he could see for himself. I texted back that I am going to have to start the form if he doesn't live up to his end. I told this to a few people who said he should have said he was sorry and refunded the money.

Such negotiations over such a small amount of money seems ridiculous. But the whole thing was so annoying that I need to pursue it.

This was the aftertaste that I had when I got home, all hunched up because I hadn't stopped. I picked up Maddie and went home and took a nap and did a phone interview. Next I wondered if I should go to the Y and exercise or call it a (bad) day. I know I always feel better when I exercise, so I went to the Y and went to the only class on the schedule: cardio kick boxing. It did the job.

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