There’s something about windows. In the words of Quentin Blake: You see, I don’t draw from life at all, but I do look out of my window a lot.
A window is alluring as it secures and gives us a view. What we access through it may have varied overtones: a life away from life, the blossoming beyond our reach, frightening us as much, high altitude and back.
Windows to a soul (Photo Challenge). Witty and attitude (Daily Prompt).
I was not keen on attending the Annual All About Downtown Street Fair, but my wife insisted, and we did. It was a good decision. Wife’s always right?
On September 16, 2017 – between 12 noon and 8 pm – the street fair returned for its seventh year.
Featuring over a hundred vendors, the fair sold all kinds of products: handmade jewelry, exclusive art works, specialty cuisines from more than a dozen top food trucks in the tri-state area; there were band performances, and fun rides for children. It was reported that in the year 2015, this event brought over 30,000 into Downtown Jersey City. Hope it has crossed that number this time.
Pamper yourself (Daily Prompt). Layered is the culture (Photo Challenge).
We see doors everywhere, and I’ve seen some interesting doors in my lifetime so far. For this particular week, I’m uploading door photos that I’ve found in my folder. Going forward, though, I’ll try to capture as many doors as possible. After all, I like what Milton Berle once said If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door. And here, I replace ‘build’ with ‘capture.’
Want to see more doors or to join in on the challenge, click here where Manja Mexi Movieis hosting for Norm 2.0.
1) My wife and I had two tattoos each, done at Hoboken Body Art over the years. We loved the place.
2) Last week, she got her third tattoo, and yesterday, I was to get my third.
3) For our first four tattoos we paid around $80 each. We had four free touch ups but never used them, saving HBA’s ink and artists’ time.
4) Last week, J – the new/head artist – looked at the design my wife had drawn: her mom and dad’s short signatures, a musical note on either end, and a heartbeat linking them. He said he’d charge $160. Which was double what we’d paid previously for more or less the same work. Also, we’d given him print outs for the design, making his job easier. He was clearly overcharging since my wife’s tattoo was 30% smaller (as requested by her) than originally planned.
5) He said, “I’m a very famous tattoo artist. You know me.” His eyes awash with pride as he let out a squeal of laughter. I smiled without a clue about who he was. I suggested that I too would get a tattoo and we’d pay $125 each ($250 in total). I even said that for my design I was willing to forgo the symbol on either end (like the musical notes my wife had for her) if the total was $250. He said his final price was $300 ($150 each), and it was clearly understood that if he was charging the extra $50 we both would get the same kind of work. (One tattoo = $160, both = $300; same work.) I was not keen, but my wife had made up her mind to get pricked. It was her birthday week.
6) So, last week, she got her tattoo done, and we appreciated the work he did. We paid him $160. I told him that I’d get mine within two weeks. He said he’d charge me $140 referring to the $300 package. All was well.
7) Last Saturday, I called HBA twice within a span of 5 minutes for a time with J at 12 pm the next day (yesterday/Sunday). Both times A – the front desk manager – confirmed the appointment.
8) When we arrived at HBA at sharp 12 pm yesterday, A said that J was running late due to a Light Rail commute issue and that we would have to wait for 30 minutes. Now, we have a toddler son who accompanies us and it gets difficult when there’s a waiting period. However, as suggested by A, we went out for a walk, grabbing some coffee at Bwe Kafe, and came back half hour later. But it was not before 1 pm that J arrived. No hint of apology from him.
9) J looked at my design and said he’d charge $160 since it had a symbol on either end of heartbeat and parents’ short signatures. I reasoned that we’d agreed on a $300 package (not $250 where I was willing to forgo those) and that I was only getting what my wife had got. $150 each. Nothing extra.
10) J didn’t remember the discussion we had seven days prior. Since A was not party to the discussion he had no clue.
11) J didn’t give me a good vibe even last week, appearing slightly intoxicated. He was a cry baby who kept bragging about his skills.
12) And yesterday, he was obnoxious, rude, and unprofessional. One, he came an hour late. He said people have to wait even at doctor’s. Two, he wanted $320 total. From $250 to $300 to $320.
13) Why weren’t we given an appointment for 1 pm? It turned out that A had tried to reach J on Saturday, but could get hold of him only Sunday morning. If A had informed us Sunday morning not to come before 1 pm, we wouldn’t have wasted an hour.
14) J was smoking indoors in front of our child. A Big No!
15) Forget about apology, he was accusing us of being amateurs, unprofessional, and annoying. He said he’d come all the way from his house for us and that he was being insulted; that each hour of his was worth $160, completely forgetting that all of us value time. My wife and I are professionals and we can’t wait for an hour at a tattoo shop. How are we amateurs, unprofessional, and annoying?
16) A apologized to us three times; he even tried to hand a $20 bill to J for his Uber expenses. Perhaps, J wanted those $20 from us after he made us wait? If he hadn’t taken Uber, he wouldn’t have been at the shop before 2 pm. Apparently, A didn’t want to lose us, but J, a greedy and self-centered blockhead, wouldn’t care. Such a loser! God bless him.
17) It’s unfortunate that our relationship with HBA has ended over $20. They should get rid of artists like J — I say this because HBA used to have professional, well-behaved artists.
18) Appointments should be honored — it’s between HBA and the artists. No apology from J was not only discourteous but ill-bred.
19) Such a waste of our time, energy, and the $25 we Uber-paid for commuting from Newport in Jersey City. There are so many tattoo shops nearby. We paid the price for our HBA loyalty.
20) Three of our friends had been to HBA upon our high recommendation. Not anymore.
Now: it was not that we couldn’t have paid the extra $20. In fact, we were planning to tip him $30. What enraged us – how odious his behavior was: last week, it was a trailer – yesterday, a performance.
Establishing a good vibe between a tattoo artist and his customer is crucial. If there’s a lack of respect, a customer might not trust that his artist would do a good job. Imagine, a tattoo is permanent, and nobody wants to be scarred trying to remove it if the artist messed it up. We’re required to sign a consent form before the procedure, making us legally vulnerable.
The day’s positive was, I went to bed thinking everything happened for the best, convincing my wife in the same breath that she need not worry about her tattoo.
Pret A Manger has always impressed me with its offering of healthy, fresh, and seasonal food. I have frequented its shops in New York City and was aware that it’d open its first Jersey City location in Newport Center mall. So, when I received a mail from Newport Center informing that the sandwich chain would not only open today but give away free breakfast/lunch, I was stating-the-obvious thrilled.
I wanted to make it to their 12 pm lunch giveaway, so had set a reminder for 11.45 am (I was in Starbucks working on a story). At 11.50 am, I was standing outside the shop, perhaps the 50th in line. When I glanced behind me, I could see a big crowd: the line snaking down possibly all the way to the entrance of the mall. And since the entrance, which was much beyond my view, was probably jammed with people waiting for freebies, the mall security quickly devised a plan to move the crowd up to line in the opposite direction. This must have eased the regular foot traffic entering and exiting the mall.
The clip here shows the constant movement of people as they line up for giveaways.
The prospect of eating a fresh bowl of salad and cold pressed juice kept me enthused. When my turn came inside the shop, I picked Chicken and Avocado salad and cold-pressed Watermelon juice.
A seasonal cold-pressed juice made with sun-ripened watermelons and a touch of strawberry puree.
After consuming the delicious freshness, I did a digestion walk, ending up at the front of the chain again. The lunch giveaways had long ended, but two friendly representatives were distributing free fruit cups. I picked a cup each of melon medley and grapes.
Summing up my love for Pret A Manger and its inauguration in Newport Center, I was not expecting to receive a voucher that another representative gave me for a free coffee or tea.
How midtown Manhattan with its towering Empire State is juxtaposed (not literally, the Hudson River’s in between) with the work-in-progress illuminated 16-foot sculpture of the Super Bowl Roman numerals XLVIII, in Hoboken, New Jersey.