Monday, July 21, 2008

For Rent: Apartment with Everything … Including the Kitchen Sink!

Napa, California: Sometime in 2006

While digging through the deepest, darkest recesses of the archives this afternoon, I reacquainted myself with a humorous classified advertisement from the Napa Valley Register. A one-time coworker clipped this for me back in 2006 and I will now share it – that is – after I blow the dust off and smooth the creases. To wit:

“QUIET, unique 3 room living space fully furnished includes air conditioner, 2 beds with linens, large kitchen w/pantry, refrigerator/freezer, gas range, table, table cloth, chairs, pots/pans, dishes, knives, forks, spoons, salt, pepper, vacuum, broom, mop, ironing board, washer, dryer, satellite dish, TV, water, garage, gas, electricity, a doz eggs & a pound of bacon in refrigerator; all included $1000/mo + $1000 deposit.”

After reading that description, I am left with an assortment of questions, not to mention cramps in my side from excessive chuckling. Indeed, the presence of salt and pepper in the unit are key selling points, for certain.

I don’t even want to consider the cost per word to place this classified. Doubtless, the owner of this property had to liquidate his or her Swiss bank account(s) to pay for such a lengthy ad.

It appears as if the previous tenant and/or the owner intended to leave more personal effects behind than is necessary to classify this place as the typical furnished living space. That begs the question: Where will the prospective tenant put all of his or her possessions? Better come up with a comprehensive game plan before unpacking that U-Haul.

And, mmmmm … greasy, salty bacon sits in the fridge and awaits consumption. Sure hope its not Sizzlean – or worse yet – turkey bacon!

I was not looking to relocate two years ago, but somehow feel like I missed out for not taking advantage of this seemingly lucrative rental arrangement in the pricy Napa Valley. No sense in crying in my wine about it though.

Courtesy Should Come Without Thought of Reward

Novato, California: July 19, 2008

On a mission to quench my high-octane bean juice fix on Saturday morning, I aimed my car for the Starbucks café at the Vintage Oaks shopping center in Novato, California. Upon arrival, I instinctually engaged in a simple timeless ritual: I held the door open for a 30-something woman and her young child. This mother-daughter duo took their place in the queue immediately in front of me and nothing was said.

My mind quickly wandered elsewhere as I inched closer to the barista taking coffee orders. Fresh on my brain was the impending closure of 600 Starbucks locations nationwide – a seemingly inconceivable event for the successful Seattle-based giant that found a way to make American coffee tastes more epicurean and charge through the gills for such an addiction. I next wondered why an individual with any sense of self-preservation considers tackling one of those fattening bear claws in the pastry display case. Really, each one is a candidate for its own health study and zip code.

Roused from my trance moments later, the woman with child in tow politely asked me what I wanted to drink. Thinking like a health-conscious minimalist: Why, a tall nonfat latte, of course. But why was she asking me?

The woman promptly explained that she wished to reward me for demonstrating a level of kindness rarely seen.

“We left Marin County because people are not very courteous,” she said, to the chagrin of some customers and employees in earshot. “You held the door for us and I appreciate that.”

I initially declined her kind offer, but she held steadfast in her conviction, and besides, there was no sense in changing her otherwise high opinion of me. So, she purchased the aforementioned latte - MSRP $2.65, plus tax – and I praised the generous act with a few kind words and a smile.

As I exited the establishment and took a seat outdoors, it dawned on me - whether one lives in Marin County or not - etiquette is eroding these days. Has our self-absorption compelled us to eschew good manners and courtesy to others?

Moral of the story: We must remember to hold the door for our fellow man and woman - young or old. Not for the possibility of a free cup of coffee, but only because it is the right thing to do.