The Unbearable Banishment: Ruminations while waiting in line

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ruminations while waiting in line

A friend was joining me for a play (Review to appear later. Perhaps.) and I had the following thoughts rattling around inside my dome while waiting in front of the theater.

* * *

The play we saw was in a small theater inside the same complex where the mega-monster-hit Wicked is playing. Wicked is a big magnet for out-of-towners. (That’s not a put-down. Mrs. Wife and I saw it when it opened and it’s a fine show.) Many tourists who were there to see Wicked were wandering into the lobby of our tiny theater looking for the Wicked box office. I was playing helpful New Yorker and sending them off in the right direction.

Do you know what makes me nuts? Tourists who walk around town in the middle of winter with deep tans. I see it all the time! Do you know what that means, don‘t you? That means they JUST GOT BACK from a vacation and here they are in New York City vacationing SOME MORE. I realize this is all born from envy and I don’t resent them or anything, but it does make me crazy.

The theater was right across from The Palm restaurant. The Palm is a chain of steakhouses here in the U.S. I ate there once but my dinner was so insanely expensive that I didn’t really enjoy it all that much. Fine food and the fine dining experience is wasted on me. I have no appreciation for it whatsoever.

Speaking of fine dining, Elaine Kaufman just passed away. She was the owner/impresario of a famous restaurant on the Upper East Side of Manhattan called Elaine’s. It was given a nod in the Billy Joel 1978 hit ditty Big Shot.

They were all impressed with your Halston dress
And the people that you knew at Elaine’s

Ms. Kaufman would stand at the entrance of her restaurant and judge people who wanted to eat there. Some got in. Most didn’t. And if you were granted a table, it could be near the kitchen in the section of the restaurant snidely referred to as Siberia. So even if you’re in. You’re not in.

I can’t stand New York snobs. I hate when people are treated shabbily because they don’t have enough money or power. People like Elaine Kaufman make me sick. Good riddance.

Have a swell time in hell, Elaine. Hope you got a good table.

Here’s the elegant Ms. Kaufman throwing a garbage can lid at a paparazzi in 1978.


Blogger Ellie said...

I love the way you ended that ... it is irreverent and shocking ... not what I expected. And it made me smile; I feel badly about smiling ... but just a little bit.

December 8, 2010 at 2:33 PM  
Blogger mapstew said...

Remind me to never get on your bad side! :¬)

December 8, 2010 at 2:34 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Ellie: She and people of her ilk deserve all the scorn I can heap on them. Prigs. Feh.

Map: It actually takes quite a lot to get on my bad side. If you're there, you probably did something to deserve it.

December 8, 2010 at 2:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ugliness, like beauty, comes from within the person.
That's ugly.

December 8, 2010 at 4:06 PM  
Blogger Pearl said...

To be judged and found wanting by someone who looks and behaves like Elaine... Ack.


December 8, 2010 at 5:00 PM  
Blogger savannah said...

you nailed it, it's that sense of entitlement that's so irritating! actually, irritating isn't even the right word, it's more distaste. i give people like that sherlock's famous turkish brushoff, sugar! xoxoxo

December 8, 2010 at 5:01 PM  
Blogger Ponita in Real Life said...

Snobbishness in anyone (New yorker or otherwise) is completely unnecessary! I would feel exactly the same as you. That last photo just shows how Elaine was a rude and egotistical woman who liked to push people around. I can only assume it made her feel better about herself in some twisted way. Sad, isn't it.

December 8, 2010 at 6:16 PM  
Blogger Pueblo girl said...

"in", "not in". I still hate feeling judged by these criteria, and consequently dislike the people who apply them.

December 8, 2010 at 6:55 PM  
Anonymous daisyfae said...

i've had meals in some of the finest restaurants in the US - at great cost on a few occasions. but i can tell you that the VALUE of a meal has very little to do with what you pay for it, and NEVER has ANYTHING to do with the perceived status of the person at the next table...

the only people who affect the quality of the meal are the companions at the table.

elaine, and snot-nosed status grubbers like her, can suck it.

December 8, 2010 at 7:14 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

MIT: Apparently, she was nice if you had money or status. She died alone. How about that?

Pearl: Can you imagine being looked down on by that? But people bought into it.

Savannah: They say copious amounts of cash corrupts your soul but I'd like to think that I'd never treat people the way she did.

Ponita: But I think there's something extra-nauseating about New York snobs. My snobs are better than your snobs! Ha.

PG: Over the years I spent in NYC, I actually found myself "in" on a few occasions. Guess what? It's nothing! Seriously! People standing around starring at each other with nothing to say. It's nothing to envy.

Daisy: I've paid a lot of $$$ for some pretty boring meals. It's just not worth it for me. Then again, people would think I was mental for spending $200 on a book I can't read. It's all relative!

December 8, 2010 at 9:30 PM  
Blogger Kono said...

I like my view from the outside just fine so fuck the snobs... my table at the all night diner overlooks an alley and some abandoned buildings, the milkshakes are pretty good and you can get breakfast all day, they even have the little jukeboxes in the booths still.

You've also just reminded me of a funny story that i need to post soon about this very subject.

December 8, 2010 at 9:56 PM  
Blogger Jayne said...

I have a feeling Miss Elaine is in Siberia.

December 8, 2010 at 11:04 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Kono: There's a great freedom in not worrying about getting into the right establishments. Take a load off.

Jayne: Hi Jayne. I think she's somewhere much, much hotter.

December 9, 2010 at 6:20 AM  
Blogger Pat said...

Don't worry about a tan - they are so last year.
There was an equivalent Elaine in Paris in the sixties whose name escapes me and I feel the same way as you and possibly Groucho. If they accept me are they worth bothering about. Or words to that effect.

December 9, 2010 at 12:22 PM  
Blogger Here In Franklin said...

The Palm is a chain. Just like McDonalds or Pizza Hut. Overpriced and overhyped. I can cook a better steak at home on my Home Depot grill.

December 9, 2010 at 2:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see she's got the two-finger throwing technique down pat. It limits your range, but can be deadly accurate.

December 10, 2010 at 4:06 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Pat: It's not the tan I envy. It's what they went through to get the tan.

HIF: I would much rather have a steak in your back yard than sit in a fancy restaurant.

kykn: That's not a very efficient throw. I'd have flung it like a Frisbee.

December 10, 2010 at 6:19 AM  
Anonymous Sid said...

Ms Kaufman looks like a drunk. Can't believe that *she* gets to decide to may or may not enter. In Ct we have a similar problem. You can't get into a club unless you're appropriately dressed. Need to wear shoes and a shirt. No sneakers. Their policies are so strict that they actually turned Ramsey (that famous chef) away.

December 10, 2010 at 7:16 AM  
Blogger Sausage said...

The Sausages will be in NY for Christmas, we are buying our winter stuff and looking for snow. See you there....

December 10, 2010 at 8:13 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Sid: I can *almost* see clear to requiring a dress code. That's something that can be universally applied. But to turn someone away because they are, in the eyes of the proprietor, a "nobody" irks the hell out of me.

SF: If you're arriving next week be aware! There's an arctic weather system dropping down. Highs in the 20s!!! Pack for it.

December 10, 2010 at 9:14 AM  

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