20 February 2010
Stranger In A Pizzeria
Millie came over to my place today. She clipped Charlie's and Max's nails as I held each of them. I made good on my promise to feed them salmon tonight (Yes, I cooked it.) if they were compliant kitties.
And what did I eat? Pizza! Of course, I didn't plan that. I'd gone out for a walk and was about a mile and a half from home when I simply couldn't wait. I was going to stop in a bistro-cafe where the owner and baristas know me and don't demand that I buy anything when I use their bathroom. Even so, I usually end up having an espresso or cappucino (Those are the only kinds of coffee I drink these days.) and maybe one of their little desserts. Alas, they were closed. So I went into one of those pizzeria/gyro shops that abound in this part of Queens. By that time, I had to go so badly that I simply pointed to a pie and nodded in response to hearing "Slice?" from behind the counter.
That slice could have filled me even if I hadn't eaten all day. There was so much cheese on that slice, which also had diced chicken and tomatoes, that I could picture a herd of cows striking in protest. And the crust was thick enough to use for insulation. It tasted all right, but it's not quite my style of pizza.
As the counterman was warming my slice, I went into the bathroom. I thought I'd locked the door, but a rather squat woman, perhaps a few years younger than I am, opened it as I was finishing up. She apologized loudly; I nodded toward her and walked to the counter, all the while talking on my cell phone. I paid for the slice and sat down to eat it when she tried to start a conversation with me.
I guessed that she is a regular patron of the place, as was a friend of hers who came in shortly afterward. Her friend and one of the cooks were at the table opposite mine, and egged her on simply by looking at her and looking at me.
Now, I know I was pretty disheveled: I threw on a ratty pair of sweatpants, a sweatshirt and a sweater this morning, did nothing to my hair and wore no make-up save for lipstick. I wasn't a sight for sore eyes, to say the least, and--as Millie noticed--my nails were even more chipped than mishandled ceramic plates.
The woman in the pizzeria became more insistent on talking to me, seemingly oblivious to the fact that I had my slice in one hand and cell in the other. The way her friend and the cook were staring at her, and me, she couldn't do anything else. I found myself thinking about two kids getting into a fight on a playground. If the other kids surround them, they have no choice but to fight.
I've been in stranger situations, but not lately. I'm still wondering what it was about.