Friday, February 10, 2012

dispelling a myth (lyn)

New Yorkers often get a bum rap.  We're pushy. We're snobby.  We're arrogant.  We think our city is the best in the world and refer to it simply as the city.  We're always in a hurry.  We're tough.  And we're aggressive.  Yes it's true; we can be all these things.  But when people say we're unfriendly, well those people are simply ill-informed.

Take today for instance.  I have a few errands to run.

First, I take three pairs of unworn or barely worn shoes to Pavlos, a shoemaker that Robyn has been raving about.  He delivers; his prices are fair; but most importantly, he does a fabulous job.  I'm a little nervous having work done on shoes that look like pieces of art (and cost as much), but I need to get rubber soles put on all of them.  He can even stretch the shoes to make them more comfortable.  But when I ask if he can make my 3-inch heels feel like Uggs, he smiles sadly and tells me he can't.  But he can put red rubber soles on my red-soled shoes.  I hand over my credit card to pay the $86 I owe him, but he only takes cash.  I have $83 on me.   "That's fine, he says.  "Consider it a new customer discount."

Next I go to Williams-Sonoma to buy refills of their dish and hand soaps.  The stylish woman helping me is both knowledgeable and engaging.  By the time I leave, I know she has three children, is a grandmother of six-month old twins who live in Bethesda, and has a son who is a sophomore at Vanderbilt.  

I then stop at the Corner Cafe for their Asian-seasoned salmon, chicken-turkey loaf, tomato salad, and mashed potatoes.  Before leaving, I walk next door to their bakery, which I haven't been to in over a month.  When I was going to Weight Watcher meetings regularly, I'd stop by every week and get one piece of lemon-frosted angel food cake, and one piece with chocolate frosting.  Today, I walk in and don't see the cakes.  Without saying a word, one of the sales people sees me and says, "Don't worry, we just moved them to the other side of the counter."  

And then, because I'm carrying so many bags, I uncharacteristically take a cab home.  I give the driver my address and he says, "420 (my street number)  not good number."  But we start talking and in the twelve block drive to my apartment, he tells me he's from Pakistan, has been in this country for 24 years, lives in Queens, that the people who live in my neighborhood and further east are "very very nice," while those who live in Sutton Place area are "very very mean."  While I'm paying he says, "I change my mind; 420 is good number."  I have no idea what made my address bad when I got in the cab, but it's nice to know it's good by the time I get out.  

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