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Ralph Gardner Jr.

  • Who should I find sitting in the Moynihan Train Hall at Penn Station recently but my urologist. This isn’t some set-up for a Rodney Dangerfield or Henny Youngman joke. For those who visit the spanking newish facility and fear its architects forgot to include seating – a Google search comes up with lots of Reddit posts in often colorful language decrying the absence of benches -- there’s a ticketed waiting area adjoining the main concourse on the east side of the station.
  • If you’re coming to visit our home don’t worry about removing your shoes. We had lots of guests over the holidays and the first question they’d ask --sometimes they didn’t even ask before slipping out of them -- was “Do you want us to take our shoes off?”
  • If I were a better person I’d try to ignore the news, declining my phone’s Pavlovian invitation constantly to refresh the New York Times and Washington Post apps. This is, arguably, the most tranquil week of the year and we should embrace the excuse it offers to avoid the world’s turmoil.
  • At Thanksgiving we went around the dinner table and volunteered what we were thankful for. I don’t recall what my answer was when my turn came. Hopefully, the conversation had strayed in a different direction by that point because I’m not very good at thinking on the spot.
  • Apple picking is synonymous with autumn, even if apples aren’t my favorite fruit. They lack the subtlety of raspberries, if you ask me, and nothing compares to a succulent summer peach. But it’s hard to beat the experience of visiting an orchard on a crisp fall day under brilliant blue skies, as the hills glow with the reds and golds of the season’s foliage and geese fly high overhead.
  • Staying at an Airbnb property – we’re visiting several in the next couple of weeks -- has its advantages. Foremost among them, I suppose, is that they tend to be cheaper than a comparable hotel room.
  • Here’s how out of touch I am. I did a Google search for “the world’s most expensive yoga mat” suspecting I might have recently bought it. I paid $250 plus tax and shipping. Let me explain before you brand me some sort of pretentious jerk.
  • I’m sitting on the horns of dilemma. When I explain what the issue is you’d be totally justified in thinking – this guy really ought to get a life. To that I’d respond I have a life. And part of the reason is that I sweat the details. My wife and children probably think I do so way too much. And my infant grandchildren probably will too once they master the rudiments of language.
  • I’ve been losing a lot of sleep lately. The cause of my insomnia isn’t the usual culprit – existential dread. It’s the late night matches at the US Open. The tournament runs at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens through Sunday.
  • I’m doing my best to be a climate smart citizen. I compost. I reuse plastic bags. I’m sealing the holes in my house to ready it for a heat pump. But I draw the line at liquid soap. I’m not referring to dish soap. That’s indispensable. I’m talking about the liquid soap you use in the shower.