Sometimes, I think I’ve become too impatient living in this fast-paced town.
|TriBeCa fire escapes|
April 26 in TriBeCa
We’d finished our dinner and it was time to pay the check and get to the theatre. I had to make a pit-stop before leaving the trattoria. Michael paid the tab, while I dashed downstairs to use the only unisex facility. Obviously, a girl had been waiting for a little while in the hallway just outside the busy kitchen because she seemed slightly annoyed.
Why are people slow when time is tight? It’s inevitable. Strange girl and I stood there together in the dingy hall. The clock was ticking. We waited more. It seemed like an eternity. Finally, it burst open! Alas, there is life beyond the restroom door. The girl emerged and said with conviction, “I couldn’t get the toilet to flush!”
I thought to myself, “Great.” Hopefully number one was the only visitor.
Other girl replied, “I only need to wash my hands.”
Inside my head, which was floating with Valpolicella, I was thinking, “Thank goodness. This will be quick now.”
This was the longest hand-washing ritual I’d ever witnessed, even though technically, I’d waited outside and not in the actual washroom. I was pacing. We had tickets and needed to leave five minutes ago.
“Hurry, please.” I jiggled the doorknob. Would that help facilitate the now five-minute hand-washing procedure? I leaned against the door. Maybe a little vibration would give her the hint. My bladder could be in semi-eruption mode, which could require surgery. I would also miss the movie, and Chris Rock.
Finally, she threw the door open. She still seemed annoyed. I walked in to assess the situation. Hmmm, toilet still not flushed. First thing was first—-FLUSH!!! Okay, that was rocket science. I attended to my tiny bladder in less than thirty seconds, washed up, skipped the lipstick and bolted up the stairs.
Now the eight-block sprint to the film. Would I work off my pasta dinner?
April 27 on the Upper West Side
Feeling my post-Zumba starve, which is typical after burning approximately 800 calories, I grabbed a few items at the Food Emporium including sushi for lunch. Needing food desperately by this time, I was of course in a hurry again. None of the lines were especially long, so I chose the closest to me. Big mistake. With two transactions in front, and one of them from a 95-year-old woman who knew the cashier, I was destined to wait. And I did.
|Goodbye!–photo by drburtoni, courtesy of Flickr|
Looking up at a sign by the register that read, “Goodbye Miss Pat,” I was pouting. The woman, who was about 4′-11″ continued to ramble and hold up the growing grocery line. Miss Pat was retiring.
The elderly woman asked, “What are you going to do with yourself?”
“I will travel some,” Miss Pat replied.
“I’ll miss you. I’ve been coming to this store for so many years. You’ve always been helpful.”
The conversation continued without my participation. All of the customers in other lines had paid and exited by this time. Finally the lady gabber had moved on and it was my turn. By now, my dropping blood sugar had hit rock bottom, but I’d tried desperately to remain somewhat pleasant.
“So, you are retiring?”
“How exciting! Good for you. How long have you worked here?”
“For forty years.”
With absolutely no comprehension how anyone could work anywhere for that amount of time, I replied, “Forty years??? WOW!”
“Yes, I started in 1968 when it was Shopwell.”
It was Miss Pat’s last day. What was the point of rushing through what would be one of the most memorable days in her lifetime? She was probably happy to retire, but where would she go each day now? Perhaps she was savoring her final moments at the Food Emporium, saying goodbye to her coworkers and customers.
I stopped. What was New York like back in 1968? Miss Pat probably witnessed it all, and from that exact register. Wow.
At that moment, I realized my lack of patience. I realized that I would not see Miss Pat any longer. I stopped for a second before rushing out to satisfy my hunger pangs.
“Congratulations. Best of luck to you.”
Miss Pat was not a women I knew, but a familiar face at my favorite neighborhood grocery store. For the past three years, I have shopped there on a weekly basis and seen Miss Pat. I had just learned her name.
I strolled the two blocks home. The soft-shell crab sushi tasted especially good.