Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Bodega Guys and Hook Hands

I've not been able to go into my bodega since last Monday. At the very least, the night shift (of the 24 hour place) is off-limits for me. My bodega guy asked me out. My bodega guy. Asked me out.

Now I understand those of you not familiar with bodega culture may not fully grasp how terribly horrible it is for your bodega to be off limits. This one is the shit, too. More like a gourmet mini grocery-convenience store. And it's a good idea to make friends with your bodega people, as I did, as well. You can have packages left off there, if your building doesn't have a lobby and you don't want your packages left outside. If they're close enough to your apartment, they'll help you carry heavy stuff home. And sometimes, if they know you real well, and if you lost your bank card and it's too late to go to the bank, and all you have is a check and you really, really, need a pack of cigarettes because you just got back from a trip to New Orleans and you can't help but wondering really, REALLY, why you live in the most expensive city in the world, well, then, sometimes, they'll let you write them a check. They're not stupid, though. You have to put your phone number on the top of the check.

See where this is going?

So anyway, last Monday, I had a drink with a friend that I haven't seen in a long while. I got home fairly early, got off the subway, and went into the bodega, as I often do, to purchase a snack. Well, flirty bodega man was in there, and asked me what I was up to for the evening. Flirty is younger than most of the other bodega dudes, and chattier, too. I just smiled at him, and told him I was on my way home. He then said, "Maybe we could hang out sometime before the holidays." Since I have never ever learned how to decline gracefully (WHYWHYWHY did I never learn that??), I just made some sound like "kayhrmsph," let it trail off, and walked out.

Well, I get home, and not but two seconds later, my cell phone rings with an unfamiliar number. I don't answer the unfamiliars. Ever. But I did listen to the message. It was Flirty. He had gotten my number from the check I had written, and wanted to see what I was doing because he was on a "quick break." Actually, let's be honest. I didn't even get asked out by bodega dude, I think I got booty-called by him. Claaaaaaaasy.

Reminds me of something else (a little bit):
My mom still lives (for now) in the town in which my sister and I grew up. The town definitely has elements of small-town livin', even though it is a fairly upscale Long Island town. Everyone sort of knows everyone, which is (I suppose) nice, but also, everyone knows everyone's business. That has nothing to do, per se, with my story, but I'm painting a picture here, folks.

Anyway, there used to be (or maybe there still is) a cab driver in this town who had a hook hand. A pretty high-tech hook hand, too. It was all metal, none of that fake skin plastic bullshit. He wasn't joking around with that hook, yo. We'll call him Vinny the Hook. So V the H wound up with my mom in his cab at one point. Suffice it to say, he became smitten. Whenever a call would come in from my mom, V the H would be the first one to pick up the dispatch, and be there to pick her right on up. I'm pretty sure he asked her out once or twice. My mom, unlike me, surely did learn how to decline gracefully, I imagine, because she never did wind up going out with the Hook, nor did she have to avoid the cab company altogether.


One day he was driving her home from somewhere (I'm sure she didn't even have to tell him where she lived anymore...which now that I think about it is REALLY creepy), and pulled in front of the house. She paid him, and was about to get out. But Hooky turned around with a bunch of CDs in his hand, and said "here. Take these. They make me think of you."

I'm sure that at this point, my mom made a noise akin to the "kayhrmsph" noise I made in the bodega last Monday, but she took the CDs. My favorite part of the whole thing is that apparently, the music that made V the H think of my mom consisted of the scores of several movies that she described as "satanic." Literally so. Not a judgement call, but literally movies condoning satanic worship.

Not that there's anything wrong with that...