Back!

Our flight got in at 8.15p (way too late to catch the 8.30p bus to Ithaca so we had to wait till 11.. gah.) and I wanted to get my New England Clam Chowder from Hale and Hearty Soups. Was too late for that, they probably closed at 9 cause by the time we got to Grand Central, they were cleaning up. we got a cheeseburger pizza and a jalapeno seafood pizza from some pizza place called Two Boots or smth like that. The seafood one was surprisingly good! I’m normally not a fan of seafood on a pie. But this one was really spicy and the prawns were actually fresh, which was surprising. Got myself two chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting from Magnolia and just polished one off after the gruelling shortline ride. I was wearing shorts throughout the journey (it was mad cold trying to walk home when we finally reached around 4am) which means I was freezing and could hardly get to sleep.

It was interesting though, watching the bus drivers switch off at Binghamton. (for the benefit of people as linguistically challenged as liangze, ‘switch off’ = ‘alternate’, as in, alternate doing something, alternate a shift, i.e. our NYC-Binghamton bus driver left and a new one came to drive us all to Ithaca) and see the new guy take over. I love watching people work. Especially when they have a system. It’s interesting to observe the little things they take care of, or need to have just right before they start. This guy was a germophobe. He had a seat cover to put on the bus seat, and an entire tube of clorox wipes which he used to disinfect the wheel and the buttons and basically every surface that the previous driver would have touched. He also had a fuzzy white pillow and a drink cooler bag. Occasionally he would put on the radio, but whenever it got to a crooney Lou Armstrong type song he would turn it off :P I wonder what that implies. His math was also not sucky (unlike the general populace here) – he counted the tickets as he was collecting them and did not double check once he was done, unlike the previous guy. I suppose that is not really an indicator of how good your math is as much as how much self-confidence you have.

I think people with work tics are probably the best people to hire. They want things done exactly right and go out of their way to make themselves as happy as possible within their work environment, which probably means higher returns for their employers. I just finished reading Medium Raw (Anthony Bourdain’s latest book- bought it on a whim in La Guardia since I’d been thinking of buying a secondhand copy/kindle copy off Amazon for forever but never really got around to it and then it was sitting all shiny on a shelf in Waterstones calling out to me. Will remember for future reference to buy my travel book from amazon prior to travelling, which would save me a non-negligible amount (in the order of hundreds) each time I travel from impulse book purchases) and he was talking about the guy who filets the fish at Le Bernardin – he covers the entire room in cling wrap before starting work on the fish! Talk about OCD. Equally impressive, the fish fileting room does not smell of fish at all. One can only imagine how fresh their fish is. Apparently this equivalent of a butcher but for fish has a guy sloshing soapy water on the floor all the livelong day as he is working to make sure everything is spotlessly clean and does not smell fishy. Unsurprisingly, he goes through the same amount of fish as three of his underlings can filet in a fixed amount of time – they hate when he goes on holiday because trying to cover his shift is a titanic task.

There must be such god-like people in each profession. What wouldn’t I give to watch them!

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