They happen all the time when we’re out and about in the neighborhood: encounters with strangers. Some are humorous and heartwarming, others — like the one below — not so much.
If you’ve had a notable “UWS Encounter,” or observed or overheard one, send it in. We’ll pick the best-written, most-representative stories, and, periodically, post them, with bylines. If yours is chosen, we’ll also send you a limited-edition West Side Rag mug. Please do not exceed 150 words. (The Encounter that follows is 145.) Real names are required, and illustrations and photographs are appreciated.
A Narrow Aisle to Reality
Zabar’s, the week before the start of the Jewish New Year: A woman of considerable girth and I passed each other in a narrow aisle. She gave me, I believe, a little shove. I turned around and said, “Easy, baby.” She said, “Easy yourself. Just because you’re old, doesn’t excuse you from having manners.” “It was you,” I retorted, standing my ground. “And I’m not old.” “Well, you look old,” she said. Then, sensing its power, she repeated it. “You look old.” “Yeah, well, you look…” I didn’t finish my sentence. A man unpacking oranges was listening and it flashed through my mind that she might hit me.
I walked out into the morning sun, which, Rod Stewart sang, “really shows your age,” feeling as bruised as an orange, realizing I had just come face to face with objective reality: I’m no spring chicken.
— Carol Tannenhauser
Send your UWS Encounters to: firstname.lastname@example.org.