Friday, May 05, 2006

New York Stories

I overheard something great the other night:

I went into a local bodega to find my very own copy of Blueprint magazine. (Yes, I am totally obsessed with the new magazine, and I'm coming to terms with that.) For you non-New Yorkers, a "bodega" is a little corner store sort of like a 7-11 or a Kwik-E-Mart, except small, independent, cluttered, sometimes dirty, and occasionally the size of a hallway. You'll usually find an insanely extensive supply of magazine titles, a good selection of soft drinks, smokes, and possibly some food products that are best left alone. (The Bible defines it as a store specializing in Hispanic groceries, but I think colloquially it has broader meaning in the city. Correct me if I'm wrong.)

I was scanning the magazines as a tall, broad-shouldered gentleman behind me went up to the cashier to pay. He started talking to the cashier with a decently thick, tough New York accent: "I don't want my wife to know I'm buying cigarettes and beer with the credit card, so it okay if it doesn't say cigarettes and beer on the credit card?"

Now, I have no idea whether he meant the receipt or the credit-card statement. (Of course it wouldn't show up on the statement....) But the whole exchange made me smile. There was something very old-school or 1950s about a wife hounding her husband for drinkin' and smokin' (and probably cursin', too) and him trying to hide it.

I prefer to look at it that way rather than as a sad short New York story about a couple's problems with finances and honesty.


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