Two of my childhood girlfriends visit me as often as I do them. We occasionally take trips together. When I’m back home in Italy, we travel mostly by car. Here in the States we sometimes need to fly. We share a lot of common interests and habits, and for the most part we all get along beautifully. One of my friends is single, the other married. One enjoys a drink or two, the other not so much. They are both smokers. Smoking is still widely accepted in Italy. I have never smoked, but I’m used to being around smokers.
On a recent visit, the three of us flew to New York City with Southwest Airlines. We chose Southwest because they offered a reasonably priced one-way ticket, necessary since my girlfriends were flying back to Italy from NYC. The flight was mostly uneventful, but I won’t be discussing their reactions to the joke-cracking flight attendants. That will be an entire blog for another time.
The New York weather was mild by their standards, cold for my thin Arizona skin. We did a lot of walking. I bundled up like an Eskimo in layers of clothing. They were happy in jeans and hoodies. American hoodies! And we walked. This particular incident happened on one of our last days there.
Afternoon in New York, we had visited Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange, took a pic by the bull, ended up in a coffee shop for a rest and then resumed our meandering. We ended up a very long way from our hotel and decided to save our strength for the evening activities and take a cab back. That night we planned a marathon packing event to make room in our baggage for everything we bought at the marvelous stores. Oh, and we went to SoHo! Yet, another blog.
While waiting for a taxi, they both lit a cigarette. One of them (no, I’m not naming names) carried her empty Styrofoam cup from the coffee shop to catch ashes. My girlfriend, the one with the empty cup, sat on a public bench while I tried to flag down a cab. Imagine her surprise when not just one but several passersby dropped money in her Styrofoam cup. Once she got over the shock she jumped up and called me over, gesturing like a lunatic. Was she offended? Nooo. She loved it. If she’d done that sooner she would have been able to buy a few more items in SoHo. Every time I see or talk to her we reminisce about it. She says only New Yorkers wouldn’t think twice about a woman who’s carrying a Prada handbag begging on the street. And guess what. She’s probably right. New York, New York, a city so nice they named it twice.