Those familiar with the Monday New York Times “Metropolitan Diary” feature know that freelance writers are invited to submit a witty slice of New York City life in about 150 words or less. Well, so far I’m batting zero with six out of six of my submissions having been rejected. I think I know what editor Michael Pollak is looking for, but I’ve failed to impress him as of this writing. My friends Debbie and Andrea tell me that mine are so much better than the mostly lame ones that are selected. That’s what friends are for, but even when I tried writing a really lame one, it was politely turned down. But alas, having the luxury of my own blog, you can read my rejected stuff. We’ll begin with my favorite one:
The GPS Follows Directions
The GPS (global positioning system) must have been invented for my acutely geographically-challenged friend. The other day she was driving with renewed confidence, thanks to her Garmin GPS. Heading towards the Belt Parkway in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, she instructed the unit to take her “Home,” which is on the south shore of Long Island. Suddenly she noticed it was taking her over the Verrazano Bridge. This, she knew, was a big error, so she ignored the GPS and stopped to ask for directions – the old fashioned way. She pulled into a gas station and was ready to ditch her Garmin as soon as she arrived home.
The next day she was relating this misadventure to another friend who astutely figured it out: “You purchased the Garmin in Florida and programmed it to “Home” down there. It was taking you back to Naples! You didn’t re-program it once you came back to New York!”
The next one is probably my first submission to the diary. I thought this would surely make the cut, but did not:
The Burghers of Calais at the Met
Strolling through the American Wing of the Met with a couple of friends on a recent Tuesday afternoon, we stopped to admire and marvel at Rodin’s hefty sculpture, ”The Burghers of Calais.” A nearby museum guard noticed our interest and in a friendly manner asked, “Would you like to know the story behind this sculpture?”
“Sure,” we responded in unison. As a frequent museum visitor, I can’t remember the last time a guard offered to expound on an artwork, but expound he did and by the time he was finished we learned that this monument commemorates an episode in the Hundred Years’ War between England and France. Edward III laid siege to Calais and Philip IV of France ordered the city to hold out at all costs until starvation forced the city to negotiate a surrender. This sculpture depicts six of the wealthiest town leaders carrying keys to the city, with nooses around their necks as they volunteered to sacrifice themselves.
Meeting such a knowledgeable and generous museum security guard was a rare and pleasant surprise. (January 2010)
After a Saturday matinee of “South Pacific,” my husband and I were treated to a torrential downpour as we made our way up Amsterdam Avenue. Before long we ducked under a store awning hoping the rain would soon let up. Along comes a very tall couple with a poor excuse for an umbrella and they appear to be in the middle of a fight over it. He’s about 6’6″ and it looks as if he wants to hold the umbrella but she’s not giving it up. They’re both getting wet but he’s drenched. Suddenly they notice our awning and still arguing, they decide to share it with us. Thinking we really didn’t need any more turmoil in an already stressful situation, I was waiting for her to wash that man right out of her hair. Then, just as we were about to move on to escape from their rainy day drama, the sun poked through the clouds and the rain stopped.
Fight over. The woman collapsed her umbrella and as if they had kissed and made up, they continued along their merry way. I was reminded of the Allan Sherman song, “Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah.” Similarly, when the sun comes out, the kid at sleep away camp writes, “Kindly disregard this letter.”