Thursday, July 2, 2020

sayonara chochka

Yes, Virginia, shit flows downhill.

In Northampton, Mass., USA, my current hometown, one of the city's cash cows -- Main Street parking fees -- has been eased, apparently in a nod towards Donald Trump's suggestion that businesses should be given space in which to bounce back. (And you thought Trump never did anything nice for you! :) )

This city is awash with chochka shops ... pinch pottery, unfettered use of the word 'artisan,' paintings, comfortable, expensive and hand-stitched shoes, 'bagels' that hardly resemble a dyed-in-the-wool bagel outside its shape, and other tourist-friendly sales.

It's nice to remember that no rich person ever got that way by being nice.

Northampton is pretty much a lily-white environment with restaurants that aren't really as 'Indian' as you might suppose or hope, not really as 'Chinese' as you might think or wish, etc. Lesbians and LBGTU folks find Northampton a pretty friendly place. Colleges and their sometimes well-heeled inhabitants dot the horizon... which is one of the reasons 'Chinese' and 'Indian' have a taint of white bread lifestyle, a Chinese restaurant owner told me once. You want the real McCoy? New York City is 175 miles to the south.

Disease, of course, doesn't care much whom you bed down with It doesn't mind what dangles from whom. But who's buying chochka these days?  When city residents dutifully don the requisite masks meant to inhibit corona-19 ... well, "shop till you drop" falls away in the rearview mirror.

But the city needs money and parking fees raise a lot of it, so cutting parking fees is not a joke for the city of Northampton. People need their gig-economy jobs. They need to get out. They need to get away from the kids. They need to feed the kids. I sometimes think that, in the midst of this worldwide epidemic, it is the lack of touching and proximity that will kill people quicker than any 'distancing' quarantine or other draconian rules.

Yes, Virginia, gravity is as gravity does.


  1. We spell "chochkas” "tchotchkes" where I live. The word "tchotchke" has long been used by Jewish-Americans and in the regional speech of New York City and elsewhere. It is Slavic in origin.
    That what Wikipedia says on the matter.
    (I couldn't spell "chochkas" with auto-correct turned on.)

    In Greater NY it’s been pretty hard to get any authentic ethnic food during since the start of the Cuomo-DeBlasio pandemic response.
    BTW - Boston does have some excellent Chinese Restaurants.

  2. Keep forgetting I cant edit once it posts.

    That missing feature still sucks.

  3. Andy -- The bigger the population, the greater the possibility of getting something that resembles the real McCoy, I've been told.

    An old Russian guy once explained to me, "You have to understand that when I was a kid, a piece of bread was a meal."