Saturday, February 9, 2008



I wondered how long it would take before I got pick-pocketed on the subte. I was beginning to think my money was no good.

Today I really had it coming. Honestly, I was a complete idiot. Hell, I would have pick-pocketed me.

I had come out of a shop with a lot of small bills as change and stuck them in my pocket in a hurry. They were a mess, so when I got into the subte, I took them out of my pocket and tried to rearrange them a bit.

Which is a nice way of saying: "I took lots of money out of my pocket and waved it around on the subway."

This bedraggled woman who I had seen begging for coins near the escalator was right next to me. I very rarely give out money. But here I felt a little bad, since I had just sorted through a stack of money, including a lot of 2 pesos bills. I thought to myself, "I don't even know how many 2 peso bills I have here, which means I sure as hell won't miss one if I give it to this lady."

So I gave her 2 pesos (60¢).

She took it. She didn't say a word. And she gave me the strangest look.

I thought maybe it was because I had just made her day with a 2 peso bill.

Now I realize it's because she had lifted 50 pesos off me and here I was — what? — tipping her?

Whatever. I'm not even that upset. She probably needed it more than I do.

I would have only spent that money on cheese.

* * *

I went to the cheese shop today for the first time in a few weeks. I picked up some smoked gouda with peppercorns, some fresh mozzarella and some dates (not cheese, but really good with cheese).

When I walked in, the woman was sweeping up. I asked her how she was doing. She said: "I'm good. I was starting to wonder about you, though. I asked myself the other day if you were ever going to come back."

Yikes! How will I find the words to tell her I'm leaving for good?

* * *

Before I hit the cheese shop, I stopped a few blocks away at the Italian bakery. Do you know how you know it's a genuine Italian bakery? Mmm. . . OK, yes, the woman in line ahead of me was speaking Italian to the baker. Good answer.

I would have also accepted: The sign outside depicts a man with an authentic Italian mustache.

No comments: