Take a load for free
Today’s New York Observations:
* Where do you people mail things? I tried two post offices, both closed. There are no mailboxes on the street since 9/11. I am considering tossing my envelope out the window and watching it drift slowly away, hoping it might land somewhere useful. Or I could just beg someone in the mailroom to take it for me.
* On the way home today, I passed a father and son discussing Wayne Gretzky. “You know,” said the dad, “when I was a kid I used to play hockey down at Chelsea Piers with his son.” The boy’s conversation had already moved on, but dad was stuck in reminiscence.
* Approaching my building, I hear the clatter of hooves. Down my cobblestone street, three enormous horses trot, topped with policemen. Even in New York, there are some things that make everyone stop and stare.
As some of you know, I’ve been trying to take off the weight I’ve put on since embarking on this crazy schedule last August. I’ve been having some success with W8 watchers (WW) online, but when my office offered to pay for three months of membership, I jumped at the chance and today went to my first WW meeting, held in a conference room at my office. I was very nervous about going, but it turned out to be rather entertaining for a number of reasons. First, I discovered two of the people I work with fairly regularly are attending. Second, the woman running it is pretty entertaining and has a classic New York accent. Her career is running meetings for toy factories. I find this a hilarious niche market, but it makes sense because toy makers work long hours and sit at their desks all day. She talked to us today about making the time to get exercise.
“You need 10,000 steps a day just to maintain. I had a woman a while ago who wore a pedometer and learned she only took 800 steps the whole day.”
Someone audibly gasped. “In New York?!” she said, looking shocked. We all looked shocked.
“No, no. Not in New York.” What a patently ridiculous idea. You can’t get to the subway in 800 steps. “No, she lived in the suburbs.” We all looked at each other knowingly.
There were a couple of social divides within the company that were evident in the room.
1. There could be an Upstairs/Downstairs sort of relationship between the Toy Makers and the support staff. The Toy Makers all have masters degrees and many have Ph.Ds. The support staff often just has a high school degree. The two groups don’t mix too often except in line at the mail room. But it was an amazingly congenial group. I know I paint the Toy Factory as some kind of Utopian space, but really, it seems like that sometimes. I wish the atmosphere could be exported. I think we would all be better off. Surely there is someone mean and petty who works here, but if there is, I haven’t met them yet. The worst I’ve seen is occasionally crabby.
2. There are the Toymakers, who are mostly around my age, and the Assistant Toymakers and Toymaker’s assistants. Yes, these are two different job titles. No, I’m not sure what the difference is beyond the fact that one of them gets paid a little more. The Assistants are all in their 20s, skinny, and stylish. The rest of us…aren’t. And this was true of the group in the room. The younger ones didn’t look like they needed to be there. The rest of us…did. Sigh.
Other things that were pleasantly surprising was weighing in. I was dreading that, expecting some kind of public shaming. But not only are you in a room with just you and the person doing the weighing, but you don’t even have to know what your weight is. If you want, they’ll write it down for you and the next week will tell you how much it has changed.
And it was neither overly pep talky nor boot campy. The meeting leader told it like it was, encouraged us to talk to each other about challenges. My intelligence was not insulted and, since my coworkers are hilarious, I laughed a lot. So while I’m not generally much of a joiner, I think I can probably do this.