Sunday, March 22, 2015

Crossing Paths

I didn’t see the well-to-do up and down Park Avenue, but last week I almost collided with a first class schmuck on that famous thoroughfare.

I was on my way to a meeting at Fidelity Investments’ midtown office at Park Avenue and 51st Street in an attempt to get a reading on my finances.

I’ve had an account with them since 1980 and while I’ve been making annual contributions to my IRAs I had no real handle on their worth.

I had been relying on my brother, who had worked at Fidelity for years, to manage my money.

But he left the company a while ago so now I was trying to make some shaky steps towards adulthood before senility sets in.

I have to confess that my knowledge of my holdings is shockingly limited. When it comes to any discussion of this topic I tend to go into full-on Butterfly McQueen mode and wail, “I don’t know nothing about managing no mutual funds!

This had to change. Two weeks ago I met with my bankers at JP Morgan Chase and now it was Fidelity’s turn.

I got permission to come in a little later on Wednesday morning, took the express bus up Madison Avenue and walked over to Park on a morning that was much colder than it should’ve been. But I was determined to shake off the bonds of dependency and denial and take on the mantle of maturity.

And then some prick walked right in front of me.

I was stunned. This--this…putz came strolling out of an office building on 50th Street pulling a wheeled suitcase behind him. He looked healthy enough, though apparently his peripheral vision must’ve been on the blink because he crossed my path as if I were the Invisible Man.

Are you shitting me, pal?

This bum was in his sixties with perfect white hair, wearing an immaculate blue suit, and wielding an attitude that could burst the top off a steamer trunk. He was heading to the curb presumably to hail a cab or climb into a limo.

White Spats and Lots of Dollars…

I couldn’t believe it. Is it possible that this douchebag hadn't see me coming up the street? Was he completely unfamiliar with the phrase “excuse me”?

I pegged him as a banker-broker One Percenter parasite who had been born with silver spoon in his brain and didn’t deign to recognize people who made less than six figures and didn’t go to prep school.

“Nice going, asshole!” I muttered.

I kept on walking, wondering if I should’ve yelled louder. Or maybe I should’ve crashed into the idiot just to show him what it feels like to be ignored.

I’m just some faceless peon who doesn’t deserve any respect because I take a bus instead of a taxi? Bite me, Rockefeller.

That would’ve been quite a scene: two middle-aged men brawling all over Park Avenue over some imagined insult.

The whole point of this expedition was to hang with the grownups and now here I was acting like an aging juvenile delinquent.

And to be honest, Suitcase Boy might’ve been genuinely distracted and wasn’t aware that he had invaded my space. God knows I’ve been guilty of that myself.

But even if he was a self-centered dick—and I’m pretty sure he was—there was no reason for me to join him.

I reached the corner of 51st Street and locked eyes with a man who was just crossing Park Avenue. I stopped and bowed slightly.

“After you,” I said.

The man nodded his thanks and proceeded. That’s all I want, I thought, just a little respect.

My meeting at Fidelity was embarrassingly informative as I learned that I know next to nothing about my savings.

Over the weekend I received two packages of financial information from my bank and my broker, which means I have a long overdue appointment with reality.

I want to increase my knowledge of my financial affairs so I can enjoy a stress-free retirement. Then some day I can strut out of a Park Avenue building and people can get the hell out of my way.


Ron said...

"Was he completely unfamiliar with the phrase “excuse me”?

Yes! And Rob, I can't tell you how many times this same thing has happened to me. Maybe it's because we both live in crowded cities, but many people seem to be oblivious to what's going on around them. And I can totally understand people bumping into each other on the street because it's happened to me before. But I will ALWAYS say, "Excuse me."

" That’s all I want, I thought, just a little respect."

Amen! Just a little respect and at least an "Excuse me or Thank you."

There have been times when someone will cut in front of me and say nothing, and boy, you should here me. I usually yell something back at them.

"When it comes to any discussion of this topic I tend to go into full-on Butterfly McQueen mode and wail, “I don’t know nothing about managing no mutual funds!”

HA! LOVED that! And me too, I don't know nothing about managing mutual funds.

Have a super week, buddy!

P.S. love the photograph you used from The Great Gatsby!

Rob K said...

Hey, Ron! People can sure tick you off if you let them.

I like your way--always say "excuse me." So do I. It's not that hard at all.

I guess the best way to handle these situations is to let the idiots go their way, but it sure can be annoying sometimes.

Take care!

Bijoux said...

I've noticed people like Suitcase Man lately . . . They will turn the corner and run right into you or else it's someone who is walking in front of you, and then stops. And then there are the zombie phone walkers.

Good job on the investment deciphering. I've let my spouse manage 90 percent of it, which is just dumb.

Rob K said...

Bijoux--yes, the zombie phone walkers! What an abomination they are! Some people just don't know how to behave.

You may want to work with your husband on the investment strategy. But don't call yourself dumb--you are anything but, I can assure you!

Take care!

Stephanie Faris said...

I'd like to blame it on New York but that sort of thing happens all the time here in Nashville, too. Grocery stores are the WORST. People are so freakin' inconsiderate. I think they just tune everyone out and pretend they're the only ones on Earth. Must be nice.

Rob K said...

Hey, Stephanie! Yes, some people really do behave like the world belongs to them.

And that just makes life worse for the rest of us. Take care and look both ways!