The year: 1985. Place: city bus in Portland, Oregon. Overheard: group of elementary school kids arguing over which Mutant Teenage Ninja Turtle was the best. A few weeks later on the 104 bus traveling between 114th and 98th Street. Overheard: Two small boys in school uniform blazers seated together having a very serious conversation about, and I quote, “ the relative merits of co-op vs condominium housing.”
— Amy Fowkes
The Ultimate Almost
Every few years, some of my husband Chuck’s Binghamton ’81 high school friends visit and we eat dinner on the Upper West Side. Some come from far away, others, New Jersey and Connecticut; no one lives in Binghamton anymore. The New Jersey woman complained that all her neighbors see celebrities when they come in to some fancy restaurant or event. We happened to be dining at our local Italian, one or two incarnations before Restaurant Luce on Broadway and 69th. A few minutes later, she excused herself to go to the ladies room and, unbelievably, Keanu Reeves came in, walked up to the bar, picked up his take-out, paid, and left. When she returned to the table to our gales of laughter, she could not believe it. “Just my luck,” she sighed.
— Sara Sprung
Garden of the Heart
Walking up 90th Street I was grumbling: “Why can’t I say no? My friend’s pledge to my Kickstarter for MIKE & The Rescued Animals isn’t worth getting up on a Saturday morning to feed two cats. I have a small zoo of my own – three rescues and one foster. And now this…”
Halfway to my destination, I spot an attractive woman gazing adoringly at the little plants surrounding the tree by the sidewalk. “I bet you’re the person who plants these miniature gardens by the trees.” She nods the affirmative. I tell her the plants and flowers brighten one’s spirit walking by. They make a heart happy. I learn she has a social work degree and self-publishes books like me. We exchange cards and say we’ll have coffee at the City Diner soon. I reach my friend’s apartment; fumble the key in the lock, eager to greet the cats.
— Marian Hailey-Moss
Send your UWS Encounters to westsiderag.com — 150 words or less, real names required. If we post yours, you’ll get a byline and a West Side Rag mug. The supply is limited, so go out there and have encounters!