Daily Office:


Matins: Even though it’s Christmas and everything, and we’re in between presidents who get shoes thrown at them and who won’t, let’s take a moment to wish Thailand well. It’s hard for an outsider to tell, at this point, whether the choice of Oxford-educated Abhisit Vejjajiva is a good thing, but the fact that a coalition is now in charge seems like a step forward.

Tierce: The curious thing about trickle-down economics is that, while it doesn’t work so well when times are good — hmm, wonder why? — it kicks in nastily when there’s a slump. New York’s doormen are here to tell you about it.

Sext: The Minimalist Chef, Mark Bittman, writes about the size of his kitchen, which is not unusually small for a New York City apartment but, at six feet by seven, tiny by American standards.


§ Matins. My New Year’s wish for Thailand is that it become uninteresting. Pirate-happy Somalia is looking more and more like the Dubious Sovereignty of 2009. But who knows what will happen in Belgium? Who knows, period — right?

§ Tierce. It’s also funny that people betray their largesse by how much they reveal about the size of their tips. Cheapskates begin by claiming that the doormen do “nothing special” for them; the doormen are only doing their jobs, which they’re already paid to do. This self-reliant bravado is followed by tentative probings that never quite crystalize in the question, “How much do you give them?” A question that you would love to answer, just to see their jaws drop (the skinflints’, that is, not the doormen’s). But of  course you don’t.

Kathleen jokes that the doormen have more money than we do. I think she’s joking.

§ Sext. Kathleen’s Aunt Marcia used to wonder how I produced five-course meals for eight in my tiny kitchen. But while my kitchen is not a pleasant spot for passing the time, it has served me reasonably well over the years.

How do we do it? We know our kitchens, down to the last cubic centimeter. Maybe it would be better to think of them as cockpits: how to get from the grocery store to the dinner table without crashing.

You haven’t seen small, though, until you’ve peered into the kitchen of a New York City coffee shop.

One Response to “Daily Office:

  1. Fossil Darling says:

    Tipping, 2008 : What a coincidence : this morning I e-mailed a close friend in the building and asked what she and her husband were doing about the staff this year . I live in a building with dozens of employees and it gets to be an expensive time. I have not quite decided what tack to take.