Most of you, dear readers, will never know what we writers go through to get you a good story. Take me, for example. Standing on the venerable patch of green that abuts the today, I nearly got punched right in the nose for asking an elderly man a question. Was it my Robert Mitchum-esque wise guy tone? It certainly wasn't a provocative query. It had nothing to do with religion, sexual preference or privatizing social security.
I merely asked this fellow, on this cold December day, what he'd like to see change in Rye in the coming year. He told me to go away and let him listen to his iPod in peace. He then followed this suggestion by letting fly with more curse words than an entire season of "Celebrity Rehab."
Luckily, this man was an anomaly. I made my way into the library and asked librarian, Anne Brauer, what she'd like to see happen in the coming year.
"It's very simple," said this gracious woman. "More funds for the library. We're really having trouble here, financially. And if we don't get more money, there's talk that we'll have to close this place two mornings a week. It's very upsetting to think about."
"I don't even like hearing about it," I said, wondering if my snarky tone might prompt another incident fraught with violent overtones.
In the back room of this venerable Rye institution, Dan Gutierrez, a recent transplant from Fort Lauderdale, was happily typing away on a laptop. Considering the temperature was about 110 degrees colder than his former home, he was in good spirits.
"I certainly don't want to see anything happen to this place," he said. "It's so lovely and peaceful here. Other than the library worries, well, I've only been in Rye for a few days, but I don't want them to change a thing. It's charming and quaint, the stores are nice and so are the people."
Aside from the Gary Busey wannabe outside, I tell him, I couldn't agree more.
Just a bit down Purchase Street, Patrick Corcoran, owner of , said he looks at the New Year with cautious optimism.
"There's no question that 2011 was a hard year financially. For everybody. But I managed to do OK here. One of the things that helped and will probably help even more next year, is Border's bankruptcy. I'm starting to see some of their customers come in. So, that's good."
Corcoran also feels like Whitney Houston. That children are our future.
"A nice trend that began this year and I think will continue into the next is, I'm seeing lots of kids come into the store. Little kids, Middle-School age kids. They are digging the bookstore experience."
Then there's that incomprehensible, eye-straining little gadget, the Kindle. Corcoran feels this weird little toy will help his trade and may someday be about as popular as the fabled Ginsu Knife.
"I can't tell you how many people who have come in here and said, 'I have a Kindle. I don't like my Kindle. I don't use my Kindle.' When you see an actual book, it evokes memories. Looking at a Kindle? You feel nothing."
Just down the street at , Stewart Robertson did have a suggestion or two for whoever is listening in Rye.
"I'm concerned about the state of both the Middle School and the High School," he said. "They look great on the outside. But inside, various facilities are quite run down. I think their priorities are a bit messed up. They're trying to keep up appearances, when they should be concerned about walls, classrooms and bathrooms."
I thanked Mr. Robertson and wished him a happy New Year. And I secretly thanked that fellow I talked to at the beginning of my day. He had no idea what sort of service he performed for me. When someone threatens to punch you in the nose? Then follows this threat with a great gushing amount of sewer talk? The rest of the day suddenly becomes quite manageable. And it all depends on how you look at things.