Daily Archives: January 10, 2009

Service Call

Who knew that the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, signed into law thanks to the efforts of Katie Hall (D-IN) and others in 1983, was transformed in 1994 by Congress into “a national day of community service to further commemorate a man who lived his life in service to others?”

Fifteen years later, the internet savvy Presidential Inaugural Committee established a website USAservice.org for Americans who seek a way/place to volunteer in service to their communities.

According to the USAservice.org, “As a tribute to that legacy and the very real needs of our nation, the President-elect and Vice President-elect have launched a national organizing effort on the eve of their Inauguration to engage Americans in service.”

The site gives users an opportunity to find and view events by zip code AND sign up. One stop shop to serve others. Start with a day and see what happens…

A cursory glance for service activities in my zip code listed volunteer opportunities with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Roosevelt Island and Central Park CleanUp, ChangeNYC food drive, Big Brother and Big Sisters, City Meals on Wheels, Women of Islam Inc., Up2Us = Service Through Sports, Asian Americans for Obama/Latinos for Obama and South Asians for Obama to deliver food to the Homebound Elderly, New York Cares and many, many more.

So…we’ve got the day off. Let’s do something.

Ah, Life IS Good.

There’s something quite luxurious about the services offered to me as an Upper East Side matron. When I first arrived in NYC in my second life as an adult (grew up in NY, moved to LA where I really grew up, now back in NY) in September 2007, I was struck by the convenience of the telephone call to have almost anything delivered, usually for a fee. Grocery shopping is done with the click of a mouse, thanks to Fresh Direct but over time, I’ve come to learn that advance planning is a must and I’m bugged by the amount of packaging the company uses to protect and pack their consumables.

Just across the Park from our apartment, in the Time Warner Center underground, Whole Foods provides shoppers a beautiful assortment of fresh foods and vegetables and a wide array of prepared foods, including julienne carrots and sliced cucumbers. Early on, I came to appreciate the “best times to shop” sticker that greeted the shopper as she reached the cashier. You know, so as to avoid the crowds next time. While one might think that the crowds would have dwindled given premium prices in an economic downturn, the store maintains the best times to shop stickers and for additional ease, like most retailers, offers to deliver your goods within a four-hour window for a fee based on location. Suffice it to say, 8:30am on a Monday morning is a great time to market. 7p Monday evening is not, unless you want to wait in line for 10 minutes (which for some single New Yorkers might be of interest).

The delivery fee for our east side address is $8.95, nearly $3 more than the cost of cab fare. Last week, I lugged three bags of groceries, in my own reusable bags (good thinking ahead, ms. eco-friendly), hopped in a cab, one of several that conveniently awaits the burdened shopper, and was chauferred to my door front. Our doorman, perhaps my favorite in a group of four who rotated shifts, greeted me as I exited the cab, “You hold on to your coffee, Mrs. S,” kills me everytime, the Mrs. label, aye yaye yaye and he instructed me as he carried the bags to the elevator, pushed my floor and sent me on my merry way.

I’m continually struck by my adult-indulged lifestyle. I am grateful and hope that at some point today, and for the duration, I can do something to make someone else’s day easier and/or better. Cheers.