Let’s discuss safe traveling and co-op and condo home transparency
By Bette Dewing
“If you see something, say something,” has long been my mantra, got me writing this column and countless letters to editors, and using 311 a lot (often about good or bad bus drivers). But speaking in public or in groups is forever a problem. I am shy, an introvert, which those who rule the world—“the talk”—mostly are not.
And I keep talking about, well, really writing about, a “Share the Talk” club so the less verbal are heard. Enough. And limit the small talk so what really matters becomes the main course. Judging from Lorraine Duffy Merkl’s column, “Like Mother, Like Granddaughter” (May 6), her small talk allergy and introvert status may get her to co-lead it. And most helpful to this desperately needed cause could be her 12-year-old daughter and her mother, who are outgoing and never “me-deep in conversation.”
But I have yet to ring the small bell by the phone to signal to a “me-deep” caller, “Time’s up, it’s my turn.” What’s most desperately needed (should this be the column’s new logo?) is not a smart phone, but a “Share the Talk Phone”—a wise phone—to do that automatically, and also signal “Time for What Really Matters” talk.
Ignored is the “Dewing Things Better” phone sign, “No Nero-type talk when Rome is burning!” Which also means, “Don’t say you’re fine when you’re not!” But I do complain to WOR radio about advice guru Dr. Joy Browne’s first commandment, “Be dumb and be happy, not smart and be angry.” This general mental and physical health profession directive keeps the source of the stress from getting outed and ousted. Please protest it.
I did speak out, however, at a pedestrian safety forum at Lenox Hill Senior Center, when a Department of Transportation representative kept telling 65-plussers what precautions to take; they already take more precautions than any other age group. As usual, the focus was on dangerous intersections, rather than on stopping most motorists’ failure to yield when turning into intersections in general, the leading cause of pedestrian injury and death. The department resists posting warning signs and, most maddening, this most deadly and ubiquitous crime of traffic is almost never punished. And, yes, I did chide the department rep about this agency’s continued soft-pedaling of two-wheeled violations, which seem to be just everywhere. My letter protesting a Times op-ed, whose writer finds it sort of amusing to be the only city cyclist who stops for a red light, will be printed. If only all the concerned did that.
I just took a break to breathe (important!) and providentially glanced at a query from a co-op board president in the Times real estate section on how to keep a “blabbermouth” board member from sharing what goes on at board meetings with non-board members. Not surprising, he keeps getting re-elected. Hee hee! The real estate lawyer suggests executive sessions without him. Ah, but a primary goal of a newly formed citywide co-op/condo residents group, an offshoot of (but maybe not officially connected) to the East Side Tenants Coalition, is for infinitely more “transparency” on what goes on at board meetings that so affects co-op/condo homes and major investments. And with annual meetings coming up, board candidates’ building-related intentions and priorities are more important to get on record than formal education and employment data. Unlike the Share the Talk Club, it’s officially up and running. Dewingbetter@aol.com will forward requests for more information.