Large cities are simultaneously intriguing and threatening. As Sinatra sang, you can be riding high in April and shot down in May. In the parade of life you can be on the trophy-winning float waving to the crowds or you can be wheeling the cart and sweeping up the used hay behind the horse patrol.
Large cities are threatening. It they were boxes Pandora wouldn't even look in them. People are rude and discourteous because they feel that their time is wasted by rubes like me who are not in the flow of things. Drivers make obscene gestures, blast their air horns, yell and gesticulate and then blow by while Tim Tourist struggles. Many of them drive as if they are the advance man for Forrest Lawn.
I am concerned in large cities because of the possibility of being caught on Holdup Street. Large cities are so anonymous and impersonal. It seems that everyone lives on Self Absorbed Boulevard and works in the Me-First Building.
I expressed those fears and concerns to Anne who has lived in New York City for about 30 years. She said, "I don't live in New York City. I live in Queens in a neighborhood called Astoria." She went on to share some anecdotes about her life there.
One day Anne went to an ATM machine withdrew $200, stuffed it into her pocket and went on her way. Later she reached into her pocket and discovered that the money was not there. Now $200 may not be much to you but Anne considers it a sizable sum. She searched everywhere but found it not. After work she trudged home and glumly turned the key.
Half-heartedly she glanced at her phone and noticed the blinking red message light. The message said "Come to the grocery store down the block and talk to Dimitri, I have something for you." She hurried down the street and talked to Dimitri who gave her the $200. A couple found the money on the sidewalk near the ATM with the receipt. How refreshing! Maybe I am wrong about some big city dwellers.
One winter day Anne slipped and injured her leg. The doctor put a heavy walking cast on it. Unfortunately it was still quite painful. It was after dark when she struggled into her fourth floor walk-up apartment and plopped into a chair. She had not eaten dinner.
On a whim, she called the delicatessen down the street, identified herself to Mr. Spiros, the owner, explained her predicament and inquired if perhaps he would deliver a meal. He said, "I know who you are. You come in here frequently." He assured her that he would bring her the items she wanted. He then asked if she needed anything else? She hurriedly provided a short list of grocery items. Spiros went to the grocery store and within 30 minutes delivered the groceries and the deli items to Anne's door and for the next four days he brought her dinner. And he would not let her pay him. For anything. I thought that New Yorkers did not care about others. Perhaps I need a bit of an attitude adjustment.
Larry grew up north of Calvertville on a farm and graduated from Worthington High School and Indiana State University. He can be reached at Goosecrick@aol.com or (317) 839-7656. Write him at 6860 Sunrise Drive, Plainfield, Ind., 46168.