Sunday, September 13, 2009
Today I was on the Upper Westside and suddenly felt hungry. I bought a slice of pizza from a hole-in-the wall place. It was so small that I decided to take the slice outside. It was a nice evening. The temperature and the dryness in the air reminded me of the Mediterranean. Outside the door to the pizza joint someone had set one single solitary chair: a sidewalk cafe for one. I sat down, balancing the paper plate on my knees and suddenly felt like I was on vacation. It was the same feeling that I'd had when eating the best gelato in the world (sesame and honey) while sitting in front of the Roman Pantheon on a similarly gentle night. Tonight, the passersby screamed for my attention: the twenty-something who repeatedly pulled down her gym shorts over thighs that precipitously narrowed into her knees; the female smoker puffing feverishly on her cigarette; the male smoker limping by in orthopedic shoes; the bulldog in a powder blue t-shirt that read "hug me"; the young woman looking nervously at her male companion whose hair matched the elegant light gray of her silk blouse. Sometimes all it takes is a $3 slice of pizza, a rickety chair, and remembering what being unrushed feels like, to renew one's interest in humanity.