Oh wait — there’s the “go-to” part next store. Gah, the line is out the door. Foodies are jammed into the tiny storefront, checking their iPhone as they wait to get their beet and goat cheese salad and quinoa. At least, that’s what I’m assuming the squiggly cursive says on the chalkboard menu displayed far too high overhead to read it properly without entering the premises and giving in to the wave of the masses.
I scurry past and duck into the greasy tin pizza shop next door that has a sign devoid of all pretenses: “Pizza”. I order a larger Greek salad because my conscious won’t let me succumb to the doughy garlic knots and gooey pizza slices that I really want.
The cashier’s friendly face sinks into a look of skepticism after money has exchanged hands and I have to assure her that she’s given me change for a 10, and not the 20 that I gave her. The girls’ friend shrugs and nods, and she reluctantly gives me my 10 back. I pocket my extra change and sink into a uncleaned side table while I have the chance to grab a seat, and silently watch the small shop’s lunchtime traffic ebb and flow.
I brush off the crumbs on the table, half-heartedly, and glance up at the cooking segment on the news. I dump the container of dressing onto the beautifully massive pile of lettuce and olives I’ve been given, and dive into my fairly-priced, substantial meal. I know I’ve frittered away way too much time trying to figure out where treat myself for my hour on the town, and I’m starting to feel antsy to get back to the office.
Sure, I’m noshing away because I’m feeling rushing, but also because a part of me wants to dig my heels into this moment a little more firmly — by doing what everyone else is doing, with heads down and mouths full — getting my nourishment. No nibbling away at a delicate plate of overpriced food while making polite conversation for me today, sir. It’s straight to the bacon today for this gal — metaphorically speaking.
I start to settle into the scene — ignoring my lime green cardigan sweater and feeling like any other worker trying to get the most out of her lunch break by escaping for a brief moment from the daily grind.
The clouds are overhead, these days, and the wind is too brisk for a spot on the Highline, or by the softly clapping (and mysteriously salty) waves of the Chelsea Pier.
Here, it feels like we’ve been wrapped away and nestled in to this bustling and slightly overcrowded tiny little cove of the city. All of us have wandered in here of our own accord, most of us have neither sought this place out or plan to step foot here again. And yet, here we are for now, together.
I push my seat still further up against the wall and try to meld into the backdrop further, for a little while. I munch and I ponder and I look out at the others, rather indifferently, but meaningfully. And I know that this is a moment that will take me awhile to forget.