Thursday, July 30, 2009

The City Can Be Interesting

What a delightful lunch! Salaa (I'm guessing how to spell this), my friend at Downtown Diner, made some eggs and shared with me a portion--they had stewed tomatoes and onions in them, plus some mild, earthy seasoning. He also procured a large share of a puffy flatbread, which I tore off and wrapped the eggs in.

There was another customer in the store. His clothes hung strangely on his body, so I decided he must have something to do with computers. (By the bye, the Ophcrack disc did not fix Salaa's laptop, and he says he will buy a new motherboard.) He glanced at me with something milder than being startled and walked straight up to the counter. "A chicken," he ordered, "and can I use your phone?"

Salaa granted him use of the phone, with which he made two calls to the office, leaving two voicemails to coworkers. He looked at my lunch--one slice of black olive/pepperoni pizza, one slice of meat lover's (pepperoni/sausage/gyro)--and said, "I don't like olives." I nodded and countered that I love black olives. He stared at me but said nothing.

When Salaa brought out the flatbread for the eggs, the customer became very interested. "That looks really good," he said. I tore off a section of bread and scooped some eggs into it. "That looks really good," he iterated, leaning over my table. He started to ask if he could have some as I handed the food over to him.

He added, "My name is Tom."

I asked Salaa whether this were a dish for a holiday, like the fish and rice dish he shared last Easter; he said it was a regular old breakfast recipe. Tom told him it was very good, and I agreed. I plan to have it for breakfast tomorrow, at work, rather than try to cart it home.

Tom turned back to me. "I'm into beef." He pointed at my slice not covered in olives. "That's more what I'm into, the sausage." I let him know this was also very good. When his chicken came up he tucked it under his arm and barreled out of the diner.

...Aw, dammit. I forgot to ask whether Salaa's plans to visit his family are still on. He's been meaning to make the trip to Egypt for months but it keeps getting postponed. I know it's killing him, not to see his family for so long. He used to visit them every couple of months, but now it's been almost two years since he's seen them.

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