My Neighbours and Other Animals: Part 2

The longer I spend here, the more people I get to know who play a part in our lives. I’ve written before about some of these people and here I thought I would tell you about a few more…

The over-enthusiastic deli owner: We pop into the deli at the end of our road almost every day for one thing or another (and I should point out at this juncture for any British people reading that I am not constantly nipping in for aged Manchego, Italian salami and marinaded artichokes…delis are everywhere here, and they’re not delicatessens as we know them in Britain, but rather very well-stocked corner shops). The lovely but totally crazy owner always goes through a very elaborate performance of ‘peepo’ for Littler Boy, which involves getting a paper bag, putting it over her face and then revealing herself doing not just ‘peepo’ but a tiger impression with bulging eyes and bared teeth. Littler looks mildly terrified but manages to indulge her by forcing a grin now and again.

The ever-so-helpful post office lady: She has a permanent smile that must make her face ache. The other day, she let me off $1 because I didn’t have enough cash. Today when I went in to return it, I thought her smile would wrap itself around her head. She and her colleague couldn’t believe that someone would actually honour such a debt, and were still laughing about it as I walked out of the door.

The Brit-loving nursery school teacher: She loves the English accent and mimics me by saying ‘lovely’ all the time. Needless to say, her English accent is about as good as my American one.

The not-so-handy handyman: He’s fixed a window three times and a washing machine twice. Both of them still leak. It’s not so handy that I can’t understand a word he says. Maybe he’s been trying to tell me that both of them are beyond repair.

The UPS man with the tattoo ‘Live Now, Die Later’: Not exactly groundbreaking advice, but not bad as a code to live by.

The online community: A simple and effortless way to waste hours of your life. I love it. People sell anything from stroller coffee-cup holders to entire sets of furniture. Advice is sought and doled out by local parents, and sometimes the subject matters astound me. The other day somebody wanted to know if anyone had a good recommendation for a shade of blue to paint their living room (surely Home Depot might be a better bet?…) and another community member described in detail an insect they had found, and wondered if anybody could identify it. Somebody came back with the suggestion to look on whatsthatbug.com. Brilliant. How did they even know such a website existed?

Watch this space for more tales of my Brooklyn buddies…

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