Saturday, May 21, 2022

Pizzeria Pep Talk

Thursday night, after bar trivia, I decided that I wanted dessert, so I walked across the street to the pizzeria to get a slice.  Katonah Avenue in the Bronx is part of the tavern district in my neighborhood, which straddles the Bronx/Yonkers border, so there were quite a few revelers out and about.  Standing in front of the pizzeria was a slender-rangy red-haired Irish guy, who I'm going to say was exactly 21.  He was a friendly fellow, who gave me a greeting as I passed by.

I entered the pizzeria and approached the counter.  As I did so, a drunk, but not impaired, woman sidled up to me and slipped her arm under mine.  She gave me a sidelong glance and told me that the neighborhood was terrible.  I noticed the pizzaiolo rolling his eyes.  

She continued, "Everybody in this neighborhood hates me.  I'm the dumb c___ of the neighborhood."

I admonished her, "Don't be down on yourself.  If you're not in your own corner, nobody else will be."

At this point, the young Irishman entered the pizzeria.  I asked him, :"How long have you been in New York?"

He answered, "Three days!  I've from Cavan, THE STICKS!"

I replied, "Welcome to New York, welcome to the Bronx."

Then I turned to the woman and said, "The whole neighborhood doesn't hate you.  There's a lot of turnover in this neighborhood.  He's been here only three days, wait a couple of weeks and it'll be a completely different neighborhood!"

This is particularly true of the summer, when young Irish folks, on school break, come to New York to work in construction, or the restaurant/bar industry.  I'm sure my Cavan chum will find work helping one of the local immigrant carpenters or floor installers, or he'll find work as a barback.

This observation of neighborhood turnover seemed to mollify the self-deprecating lady, or at least to confuse her.  It was a weird sort of pep talk, a Bronx sort of pep talk, and I hope it worked.

In the interest of full disclosure, it was also a pep talk for the neighborhood, which I love.  Everybody in the neighborhood likes me.

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