Piercings, Tattoos, And The Gag Factor

About a month ago I had more than a solid reason to speak with a manager at the Willy Street Co-op.  I had been in the Williamson Street store to buy some chocolate milk and once I got to the check out counters noticed one of the female workers sticking two fingers up her nostrils to rub (and whatever) the ring in her nose.

As if that was not enough to witness I saw an un-knowing customer walk up and place their groceries so this worker could touch them for the cashing out process.  And cue the gag scene.   It was simply something I would never dream of seeing in a grocery store.

But what I found equally disturbing was speaking with a night-time manger who seemed not overly concerned with the matter.   When I spoke of my views about hygiene and common sense  she questioned if I had any piercings and expressed that “they can itch and become irritated”.

I rarely shop for anything at the co-op since they are severely over-priced and now with Festival Foods just a few blocks away I can walk there for a far wider and more stable supply of foods.   Our main store for food remains Hy-Vee.   Their customer service is amazing and the cleanliness of the store is most appealing.  For most people that latter point is very important.

My posting about this matter today comes as result of an article this past week in The New York Times about the window display of mannequins at Braneys that has dismayed many who walk past it.

Among the more polarizing sights in Manhattan this spring were the Madison Avenue windows of Barneys New York, an unlikely showcase for a series of mannequins. They were ringers for the real-life models who stalked the Hood by Air men’s runway in January, right down to their elaborate tattoos and the uncanny grillwork distorting their grins.

During a recent week, passers-by stood welded to the spot, challenged to make what they could of the scene, a curious hybrid of street theater and fashion porn. “Obviously, this was done by an artist,” Paul Roberts, a visitor from Edinburgh, said appreciatively. “It goes beyond window dressing, doesn’t it?”

But Claudia Brien, a young Upper East Side matron, pronounced those vitrines “beyond disgusting.”

“I pass them most days, but I go out of my way to keep my children away,” Ms. Brien said.

I am not equating the images at Barneys to the person with the fingers up her nose at the co-op except in the respect that I find both of them a part of the fabric of society that I am glad I need not rub shoulders with.  I do not understand the desire to make oneself unable to simply blow your nose without also needing to clean a nose ring.   That creates a whole new definition of the word gross. Yeah, sign me up to be a part of that sub-culture!  And touch my food, too!

All this may make me sound snobbish to some, an old fuddy-duddy to others.  So be it.

But when I see an otherwise very attractive young man or woman tattooed and pierced in ways that strain any comprehension it does make me question why in the world would one make such a choice?  How does one mix the inking of the body and the nose rings with a climb up the professional ladder?

I come from the time when a pair of glass frames might bring out the lighter hue of a woman’s eyes or a shirt and tie combo would add to the overall impression a man wished to convey.  Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Cary Grant were perhaps the epitome of good looks and fine taste.  It is most perplexing how the need for marring the body is now so much a rage.

Maybe big hats will come back one day in an attempt to hide the self-inflicted damage.  But just how large can a fedora be?

Willy Street Co-Op Driveway Fine With City Of Madison

In a letter dated Oct. 1, 2010 from Bradley J. Murphy, Director of Planning
Division to the Plan Commission, and one that would have been received by Mayor David Cieslewicz  along with Alderperson Marsha Rummel, the following was made known.

The driveway proposed by the Co-op is permitted by City ordinances (MGO Section 10.08). A site plan showing the new driveway has been administratively approved by City agencies through the site plan approval process. The driveway may now be installed. No public hearings or actions by the Plan Commission or Common Council were required in order for the proposed driveway to be built, and City staff had no authority to deny the Co-op’s request for the Jenifer Street driveway since it met all ordinance requirements.

It now seems that only common courtesy from the Willy Street Co-Op can stop the driveway. Vegas odds say……….

How this matter was handled by the Co-op in terms of secrecy, and as many residents would term double-dealings, has strained relations with the community.  There will be long-term hard feelings from this matter that the Co-op should have been able to foresee.  The fact they did not see them, and cared less once they were registered, underscores the sour mood many have about the Willy  Street Co-op.

From this blogger’s perspective those harsh feelings are well-founded.

Near East Side Responds To Willy Street Co-Op’s Proposed Driveway

With a hint of fall in the air no one would think new color could be sprouting up on lawns in Madison.   However if you walk down portions of Jenifer Street on the near east side this weekend there is a new splash of yellow on many lawns, and the ‘plantings’ seem to be spreading.

Concerned residents and neighbors have joined in an effort to push back on a second driveway for the Willy Street Co-op that would be placed on Jenifer Street.  The neighborhood has been upset for many weeks over the idea of more traffic and congestion into their residential community.

After the Co-op alerted neighbors of their plans to construct a second paved driveway this fall there was lots of talk about what could be done to stop the project.  Soon a small group of concerned but energized residents formed a committee, came up with a plan of action, set out to educate others, and petition for the driveway not to be made permanent.

Much of the neighborhood discussion has centered around the upheaval that businesses on Williamson Street will experience next year when a many-month street construction project will take place.  Willy Street Co-op will be effected by the project, and is hoping that part of the solution to reduce traffic congestion is the second driveway onto Jenifer Street.

While there appears to be plenty of goodwill in the neighborhood for understanding the need of an egress during construction, there is far less agreement about keeping the driveway permanent.  For decades there has been an attempt to have main traffic arteries used so that smaller and more densely populated neighborhood streets would not be burdened with cars and noise.

So with petitions in hand, colorful lawn signs under their arms, and a message aimed at homeowners and residents of Madison, a group of concerned citizens are challenging the Willy Street Co-op.   

Agree or not with their message one thing is clear.  While some read the morning paper and feel powerless to act, others have united in the activist fashion that the near east side is so well-known for doing.