Le cul entre les deux chaises

An American Spaniard in France or: How I Learned to Make an Ass of Myself in Three Cultures


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Saturday Special: how may we hate you?

[IMPORTANT PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT: Tomorrow, Sunday March 30, is when Europe springs forward for Daylight Saving. Remember to set your clocks ahead an hour before going to bed. We now return to your special Saturday programming.]

Please join me in laughing at my new favorite thing on the Internet, how may we hate you?, the Tumblr run by two Times Square concierges. It was one of Tumblr’s most viral blogs of 2013, but I don’t spend a lot of time over there, so I just came across it. It’s like my Spanish screenplay crossed with even ruder people who don’t speak English very well.

Here are two of my favorite posts.

How May We Hate You Ass tour How May We Hate You Maria

I’m even willing to forgive the mis-capitalization of español because a) I am not a monster and b) these people are clearly doing God’s work by putting up with such assholes.


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The Endorsement: Citymapper app for New York

citymapper wins logoThe situation: You are in New York City. You want to go places but like to take the fastest/cheapest/greenest/most efficient route because you don’t have time to lose.

The solution: The Citymapper NY app. Earlier this year, it won the MTA’s own App Quest competition for being the app that best integrates most of the city’s transit possibilities into one spot. (That’s subway, bus, Citi-bike, rail, walking, taxi and a surprise mode of transit.)

It’s a pretty perfect app for locals who already have a sense of where they are and where they’re going, but for tourists or visitors, it has only the info you need and not a bunch of other stuff. The biggest innovation is that Citymapper integrates real-time updates to the system so that you don’t need to keep track of when a line or station is being serviced, or if there’s work on the tracks. The app does it all for you.

citymapper-new-york 2Additional advantages: Once you’ve installed it, you can add a bunch of addresses to the very clean map within the app and then plot your routes to and from any location. You can then *save* these routes for offline use which is a *key* feature if you don’t have a data plan. And the map will still zoom in and out, even if you’re offline which seems like a simple thing until you use every other app and realize that it’s not a standard feature.

Only complaint: they haven’t made a version for Paris yet, but London (that dump!) is available and presumably equally awesome.

The knowledge (yes, that’s a London joke): Download the free app for iPhone and Android here.

Another tip for visitors

If you’re a world traveler, I’m assuming you have an unlocked phone so I’m working from there. If you go to the US, find a local T-Mobile store and buy an American SIM card ($10) and get a pre-paid credit on it. There are several different rates available but I’m partial to the month-long one (which is usually $30) as I’m never in country that long and it’s pretty unlikely that I’ll use all the text- and talk-time in a couple weeks.

"Diane -- my life would be improved if you provided me with this app. Get on it!"

“Diane — my life would be improved if you provided me with this app. Get on it!”

I recommend T-Mobile over other carriers for a few reasons: the company isn’t horrible like AT&T; it doesn’t have shitty customer service like Sprint; and they don’t require a local address or proof of residence to register the number (you do have to provide ID). They make buying a SIM super easy and the other big companies have historically given me a hard time, trying to sell me a disposable phone or up-selling a bunch of crap I don’t need. T-Mobile recognizes that a customer may come back if they don’t hassle you. (They may also suspect you’re a spy or criminal and want to claim plausible deniability after you’re arrested, but that still works in your favor.)


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The Endorsement: Tekserve

119 W 23rd St. @ 6th

119 W 23rd St. @ 6th

The situation: You’ve got a Mac and Macs sometimes get problems. Occasionally, they’re serious problems, like when my computer decided to freak the hell out and destroy years’ of data and all my iTunes metadata and basically stop functioning. Other times, your Mac just runs slow or makes a loud noise when the fan is on. Sometimes, your Mac just wants to get kitted out in the latest fashions or check out what kind of upgrades it can get.

The solution: The best place to do all these things is an Apple-authorized store called Tekserve in Chelsea in Manhattan. Sure, you could go to the real Apple Store where no one will be able to help you for ages and you’ll be jostled by all the tourists and youngsters and people just milling about. It’ll be loud in there too and you’ll probably forget an important question you had and leave none the wiser.

At Tekserve, you get a number and you sit in a little area and you’re called up in a reasonable amount of time. (You can also drop off and they’ll get in touch with you later.) The person who helps you will know just about everything you could care to ask. They will address your issue(s), give you options if serious work needs to be done and make sure you’re okay about every step of the process. They understand that you live on your computer now, that all of your life is there and they treat it, and you, with the care both of you deserve. And lots of times, they won’t even charge you.

And this can happen

I was there on a day ending in Y so I was wearing a purple coat, purple hat, purple glasses and was carrying a purple shopping bag. I’d stopped in to get my purple hardshell-protected laptop air-blasted ’cause it was making funky sounds. An employee walking behind the counter passed me, observed how insanely I was coordinated and said, “She knows what’s up.” I *do* know what’s up, but so does that guy.

The location can’t be beat

After servicing your computer, you can go to the original Shake Shack in Madison Square Park. Who doesn’t want to have a legitimate reason to eat a ShackBurger?

Go here. Do it!

Go here. Do it!