Boston: free gifts

Shop Girl by Kitty Kaufman, photos Roseanna Spizzirri,Julie Moffatt

note I make lists. They're on neon Post-its®. The first list has ten places where I want to eat. The second is in the kitchen. I have a to-do list because, after all, I am an organizer and personal assistant. When I meet a client, I bring them Post-its so they can make lists, instead of piles. You could keep lists in your phone but there's nothing like a pink sticky on your phone to be sure you come home with dog food and face cream.

My fourth list is mostly adjectives and as adjectives go, they're hype from hack, but employed, writers. Adjectivitis, adverbials and oxymorons from a university, the very one that gave me a degree. The president, not of the School of Liberal Arts, thank goodness, sent mail hawking 'free gifts.' Really, free gifts when you make a donation. Is free an adjective or an adverb? I sent it back, with my name and a comment but no check.

'Recalculating' - When I got a GPS, I thought the 'recalculating' business was nuts. On a new GPS there's a new lady, who sounds exactly like the old one, and she doesn't let you know she's thinking; she's quiet. You drive along, in limbo, not knowing if she'll tell you, in time, when to turn. (What I hope is the GPS lady isn't Siri. I know Siri, she's real and seems, at least on Twitter, to be someone you can count on.)

throwback 'Highly competitive.' You can't throw a rock without hitting high competition. Usually you see 'highly competitive' when it refers to job pay. Stay away from jobs like this.

'You people' and 'folks like this.' They're in email from the president of a local university, not mine, who was away from her desk when the PC memo came down. I wrote to her since we're distantly related on LinkedIn. I thought she would value my observation about an event we both attended. She didn't answer. Indeed, she spouted off to someone in her group about 'folks like this.' That person sent a nice answer. By accident but more likely on purpose, she replied on top of her boss's response. Since I am the 'folks like this' that she meant, there's no chance in hell she's getting a check either.

meow car ' value,' 'fair price' and 'great pay.' What you think is fair or great or of value are, if you please, arrogant. So are 'act now,' 'only,' 'even' and 'just' referring to a car that's 0,000.

Incredible, spectacular, fantastic, fabulous, and absolutely. They were once used sparingly to describe things that were great. Now they tell of aged meat, frozen peas, lash-enhancing mascara and miracle foundation, what you put on your face, but sometimes the other kind when it comes to enhancement. I have no idea what to make of menus bragging farm to table, house-made, delicious, heart healthy, jumbo and fresh.

meat 'Iconic.' Iconic is to 2016 what prioritize was to 1996. It's the word of the year, of the millennium even. I read a local food brief where meat was called 'iconic.' I couldn't help it, I wrote to the editor. She didn't answer. Then, in The New York Times fashion magazine, the word iconic showed up 12 times in 30 pages. I wrote to the editor saying surely not everything called iconic, like dresses, was really an icon. She didn't answer either. (Of course, iconic showed up in the next issue, just not as often.) Though 'no problem' replaced 'you're welcome' years ago, ubiquity does not make it iconic.

In business,'experiential' and 'deliverable.' Wikipedia says: "Deliverable is used to describe a tangible or intangible object produced as a result of the project that is intended to be delivered to a customer. A deliverable could be a report, server upgrade or part of a project." I order shoes online and when UPS brings them, they're deliverables. To be sure, ordering shoes is a project and an upgrade. Experiential, I think, is when I take a tap lesson; I'm doing it and I'm learning what I'm doing. But not always. Anyway, 'breaking news,' we're done. Off for my free gift.

© January 26, 2016 Kitty Kaufman is a New Yorker who lives in Boston. She has packs of Post-its® to bring to your office. She comments about food and politics on Twitter
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