“Which is your best?” She was a café semi-regular, Two days a week. Hispanic, UCB grad, a couple kids, manages a bike shop. Sometimes I gave her my entertainment section with the crossword.
“They’re all good,” I said.
She considered her choice. “Learning about the author seems a good place to start.”
She handed me two fives and put “Cheesesteak” in a clear plastic envelope. Growing up in the Valley, she explained, she had been too poor to afford books, so she had great respect for them.
I was touched.
“Is this you?”
The fellow had close cropped hair under a Red Sox cap. He wore a tight-fitting black mesh t-shirt, cut-off blue jeans, flip flops. I did not rule out that his curiosity had been drawn, not by my books, but the black leather motorcycle cap, which had led the joker in the locker room to ask if I was auditioning for a Village People’s tribute band.
“Are you from Boston,” I said, prepared to advance consumer connection with the banter that my wife was.
“Oh no, not at all. My past, in fact, is quite fragmented. It was a gift from a friend. It’s a good conversation starter.”
“I know just what you mean.”
No sale, there.
In other news, after reading the latest article by the always interesting Austin English at tcj.com, I scrolled down through the comments and, lo-and-behold, found myself quoted. True, it wasn’t so much me being quoted as it was the cartoonist about whom I had written in 2004, but the idea that something I had put in print that long ago had registered with someone sufficiently to be held onto and brought forth now was encouraging in a sort-of you-never-know-what-ripples-so-keep-tossing-pebbles kind of way.