New York on a Sunny Day

Have you a restroom?

The thrift-store cashier said "er, no, but there's a Starbucks a block thataway (points)."

Bye-bye Beloved Spouse, (whom only last week was exposed to the addictive practice of thrift-shopping the "Society" stores). Up until now, she'd thought thrift stores were strictly Salvation Army.

Nature's calling, and the charitable people at the "Project: Housing for Life" (or whatever) were finding apartments (with toilets) for others, but weren't charitable enough to allow me access to their own toilet.

Views down an East-Side street, off 2nd Avenue:

Someone either moving in or out, their belongings sitting in the truck and on the sidewalk, bits of a life/lives exposed, if momentarily, for for all to see (good taste in bedroom furniture; chintzy dining room set, a frosted-glass coffee table to die for).

An old woman standing on her stoop, watching the world go by. I bet she's on rent control and pays about $500 a month for an apartment in a building filled with one-bedrooms for $3,500 and up. Reminds me of my Grandma.

A utility truck (the phone company) and all they were doing was going down a manhole, but the crowd of workmen above-ground wore hardhats, too. One of them yelled "get a job!" to a passing taxi driver who'd leaned on the horn. Driving a taxi in New York City, especially at night, is a far more life-threatening occupation than splicing wires for the telephone company. In fact, more cab drivers are murdered while working than policemen every year.

Turn onto 1st Avenue; there's Starbucks. A homeless man was parked at a table, his somewhat filthy belongings (obviously most or all of what he owned in the world) neatly stacked around him. He uttered "there's someone in there right now." Was there? A short wait proved that indeed there was. That was all the excuse needed to offer a $5 bill for preventing the embarrassment of door-handle-jiggling an occupied restroom. The guy might've been homeless, but he was performing a duty: restroom watcher. He said "thank you" for the $5.

Ironically, on the way out of Starbuck's, the young lady behind the counter who was obviously in a supervisory position (and quite caffeinated, given her loud, rapid-fire voice) cried out "oh, sir, the bathrooms are for customers only." Fought the urge to say "I've been a customer at your other stores for years, and frankly hate your coffee and would rather have Dunkin' Donuts put the sugar and cream in for me, at these prices." Bought a fancy-schmantzy root beer for $2.19. Told 'amphetamines incarnate' to drink more root beer and less "Grande" espressos. And to have a sparkling day. So there.

Down to 87th Street and 1st. So many restaurants, so little time. The tiny news store smelled delightful; tobacco, chewing gum, and newsprint.

Back across a block and headed north, back to the world of slightly-worn women's apparel (in the chic-est, hippest setting, mind you).

More restaurants. Plenty of sidewalk tables, today. The temperature was 73. Ah, Spring is here (but not a crocus nor daffodil to be seen on an eight-block stroll).

Flagrantly violated the "no food or drink in the store" sign and walked in. There was Beloved Spouse with two arms-full of stuff. I told her to ditch one of the scarves and two of the skirts; but that the rest were fine. Paid for her treasures (all of $65.00) and as we were leaving, heard the clerk say "oh-I'm-sorry-I-didn't-think-you-were-a-customer."

Did I look ratty? Slacks, oxford shirt freshly pressed (light starch) and not a hair out of place. I'm fat, but not enough to break the toilet seat. What could have possessed her to think that perhaps, I'd sully her restroom? Or use it for free.

On the way out I howled: "Customer, customer?! You haven't seen me shop when one of my female personalities emerges, have you honey?!"

Beloved Spouse hit me. Hard. But then she bought lunch.