If New York City is good for one thing, it's meeting strangers. Most of you know I tend to chill at Starbucks, writing and editing, for hours at a time. Tonight was a three hour session.
Stranger number 1
In my groove, the inevitable 'I have to pee' kicks in and I now have to scour those closest to me to see who I trust most to watch my computer while I run to the bathroom.
I pick this European looking gentleman at the table directly in front of mine. I actually barely had to speak. He understood my body language and told me to go. I did.
A few minutes after my return, he asked me to watch his stuff. With a successful reciprocation, we began talking. He explained how he was doing work while waiting for friends in the city, as not to have endured the traffic between Manhattan and Jersey this evening. Makes sense.
He then started to dig into what I was doing there, and how I scored one of the best tables in the whole place. Intro to Nomad•ness and the memoir. He was intrigued and I was flattered. He wanted to witness more, so I gave him one of my new business cards. He was cool.
Stranger number 2
I left Starbucks hungry as hell but refused fast food. Wholefoods was open until 11pm, so I decided to head in. As I eyed the Indian buffet section an older gentleman stopped me.
Pointing to samosas he asked, "Are these spicy?"
"Depending on how they make it, it can be, but it's just vegetables and potatoes," I responded.
"You're probably from the Caribbean, huh?"
"As a matter of fact, I'm not."
"Really? Where are you from?"
"New York. My father is African-American. My mother is Irish, Italian, Dutch, and Native-American."
He wanted to keep talking, in amazement. I didn't, so I walked away.
Stranger number 3
I don't know why I attract the New York city crazies. I don't know why but I do EVERY TIME. I have friends that can vouch for this and have video to prove this. First off, the 4 train, at night, tends to be a freak show to begin with...always entertaining, with a shot of weird, and sometimes a sprinkle of scary.
Tonight this dude, with two teeth, asked me if the 4 train runs to Harlem. Now, I have noticed something in my years of living in the city. A person is as crazy as their repetition. Meaning, if someone asks you something once, ok. Twice, a pink flag should go up. Keep an eye on them. Three times, this person is crazy. More than three times, switch to another train car at the next stop.
I swear it's true.
This dude, in between talking to himself, asked me if the train stopped at 125th probably 5011 times...and it was only 4 express stops away. I wanted to tell him it was two more stops then as many teeth as he had in his mouth and watch him do the math. That would have been mean though.
The 4 train is alive and well...