Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"The True York Show..." by Emma Smith

Emma Smith is a featured blogger on Big Apple Brits

Living in New York can feel like starring in your very own Truman show.

Tonight I stand on my stoop and breath in the hot, sticky Autumn night air in the West Village. Rain threatens to burst from the looming clouds any second. People dash past the tree lined brownstones kicking aside crunchy golden and orange leaves as they go. An eclectic crowd gathers at the gay community centre over the road. Anticipation in the air. It's the opening scene to something.

So if this were a rom com, I would be wearing a vintage Burberry mac and some Jimmy Choo for Hunter wellies. My lover would be hurrying come around the corner, his tie loosened casually, looking handsome and unflustered, ready to whisk me away to an intimate basement restaurant lit only by candles and the glow of lurrve.

But this is real life, so I am in a hoodie, The American is working late and I need to make a dash to my local supermarket for loo rolls.

Five minutes later I am standing in line clasping my four pack of Charmin while a shriveled old lady dressed in black in front of me is trying to buy a $1.25 pack of cakes. She is arguing with the Dominican check-out girl over a five cents rebate.

She marches over to the 6ft 2 burly store manager and starts prodding him in the chest with her finger and screaming at him in Spanish. The manager responds by laughing and then the lady come back to the checkout, grabs her cakes and storms out.

Then the checkout girl says this to the other checkout girl. Without pause.

"Hmm mmm girrrrrl. That lady is focking crazy, she like in-sane. She came up to me the other day and she was all like 'I want my rebate for my bottle' and I was like 'Sure lady' so I gave her the rebate for her bottle and then she accuse me of not giving her no rebate and she was all like up in my face and like 'God is watching' and I'm like , 'Yeah? God can watch, cos I gave you yo five cents rebate' and then, then she says to me 'Enjoy your five cents' and I'm like 'Are you serious lady? Enjoy my fiiive cents' you gots to be kidding me? What the fuck do you think I'm gonna do with some fiiive cents? I don't want no fiiive cents off you.' What the hell can you buy with fiiive cents anyway? You can't even go in no bodega and buy no fish stick for no fiiive cents anymore"

Checkout girl 2: "Dat's true. Fish sticks are like ten cents now"

Checkout girl 1:"I know! So I was like.' Fiiive cents? Fiiive cents? What yoo espect me to doo lady? Go in some penny store and buy some penny shit? Cos no penny shit exist no more.''

During this exchange she has scanned and packed my toilet roll, taken the money for it and given me my change and receipt. I am laughing my head off and the she smiles with me and shrugs as if to say 'what can I do?

I go outside and the gentile humidity has given way to dramatic monsoon, rain is lashing down 8th avenue like it's the end of the world. I huddle under the awning with other shoppers and bemoan out loud how I can't make it back to the apartment.

The big burly manager is stood next to me and hears my plea and runs to his car and gets out his umbrella to offer me. I thank him profusely and walk home but the brolly can't compete with the lashing rain and by the time I get home I am soaked through. And not in a sexy way. In a make-up down my face, hair glued to my head kinda way. I scrabble for my keys while over the road some trannies are kissing in the downpour.

Even in movie set New York, life is usually less like a big budget Rom Com, or even an indie movie and more just like reality. Then there are nights like tonight when you find the extraordinary in the ordinary and you know life here will never be quite what you expect.

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