Saturday, January 19, 2019

Personal Questions

At the market, waiting in line for the vendor bathroom, the woman standing in front of me abruptly turns and asks, “Do you just need to fill up your water bottle, or do you need to pee, too?”

“I, uh, I need to, um, use the restroom too,” I finally manage to stammer, and she explains that if I’d only needed to fill my water bottle, she would have let me go first.

We stand for a few moments in silence until I say, “You know, it’s kind of awkward asking a stranger if he needs to pee....”

“Yeah,” she says, nodding, “I totally thought the same thing as I was asking you, but by then it was too late."

Didn’t Stick

The enormous Frenchman manning the door at the restaurant feigns surprise, then terror when he sees Katie. He playfully retreats towards the back of the back of the restaurant as Katie sings out, “Oh my God - you’re still here?”

He pretends to hide behind his lapel as I say, sotto voce, “Didn’t they fire that dude after you stopped working here?”

Katie’s smile remains fixed as she whispers back, “For being a drunk, yeah?"

Thursday, January 17, 2019

You All

“You know, in English you have, what, one-point-five million words?” he says vaguely as he stares at Katies sculptures. “In Hebrew we only have seventy-thousand,” he adds, raising his index finger as if he is making a very important point.

“But you have no separate word for the plural you,” he says, shaking his head, as if this is the most absurd thing he has ever had the misfortune to hear.

“Americans in the south say y’all,” I suggest.

Intrusive Thoughts

I cross the street between the two cars after looking both ways, and even though I’m perfectly safe, in the middle of the far lane, the image of a woman being hit by a car flashes through my mind. She wasn’t hit particularly hard, and the car wasn’t going very fast.

It was weeks ago, but the memory still shocks me. I walk down the street, carefully stopping at each corner, and I wonder how she’s doing, and if her back healed up okay.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Buy All the Things

“Okay, so we’ve got a list of, like, five things to get at the grocery store, so we can just get them and get out,” I say as I lock the door on our way out. Katie gives me the most pitying look, as if to say, I love this man, but I clearly have married a mental deficient.

“I like all the choices,” she says by way of explanation at the bottom of the stairs. “Marry your opposite!” she adds.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Escalation

The old man slips into the vestibule of the storage space right behind me, and who can blame him? It’s absolute balls-cold outside, and I don’t begrudge a man taking some shelter from the wind for a minute to make a phone call, which is what he proceeds to do.

After a few minutes winding his way through the automatic answering system of whatever labyrinthine governmental agency he’s currently fighting with, he finally gets to a person and asks about having lost his New York street vendors’ license.

“No, you don’t need to send the police down... why would you... I didn’t say it got stolen, I just lost it!” he replies with increasing agitation.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Outsmarting the Cold

We pull up in the U-Haul parking lot to drop off our rental truck after a long day of loading in for a new market. The location is ostensibly still open, but the lot looks conspicuously empty, with only one other truck parked in the returns area under a frigid, empty sky.

We come alongside the only other truck, Katie laughs, and I see, in the cab of the other truck, two guys in heavy coats huddled together against the cold. The one nearest us rolls down his window with a smile, motions me to do the same, and says, “Leave the key in there, and I’ll send you the receipt."