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Overheard conversations vol 7

Walking past an interactive display window in Midtown. A woman is flapping her arms and, on the screen in front of her, a cartoon penguin flaps its arms too.

Woman: (smiling, continues to flap arms)

Man: Natasha – Natasha – now do a head spin.


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Overheard conversations vol 6

Walking towards three girls wrapped in winter coats. Two of them each sit in their own plastic sledge, one facing the other. Each holds tightly to the other girl’s sledge. The remaining girl is standing and she holds the reins of one sledge. She begins to heave and the group moves a couple of inches. We get closer.

Girl 1: We’re travelling transcontinental!

Me: Good job, you guys look pretty impressive.

Girl 1: We’ve travelled half a block in three days!

Me: Keep it up!

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Overheard conversations vol 5

Image10 year old girl on a school trip approaches me drawing one of the figures from a plinth at the Brooklyn Museum.

Girl: I like your drawing.

Me: Thank you.

Girl: Are you drawing with rocks?

Me: No, they’re rubbers. (Mental facepalm at recollection that ‘rubber’ means ‘condom’ here and not ‘eraser’.) I mean, they’re erasers.

Girl: Oh. How do you draw with erasers?

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Thursday was Thanksgiving, which is a huge deal in the US. As we had no family out here, De Vito family out in New Jersey kindly offered to take us in. Our presence brought the total to 15. The De Vitos opined that this was really rather small; in past years they’ve had up to 30.

I’ll cut to the chase; you will all want to hear about the food. Well. We began with bread and cheese. But no ordinary cheese – this was parmesan that Uncle Mario back in Italy had sorted out his family out with. It was superb. Strong crumbly cheese, fresh bread and a cracking glass of red. Guests arrived (Uncle Ron was late), each bringing a dish. Then the real fun began.

Turkey, sweet potatoes with marshmallow, garlic mushrooms, cheesy asparagus, stuffing, cranberry sauce, spinach and gravy. It was so good I even had a second helping of turkey with gravy and stuffing. I regretted this almost instantly.

Then came the fruitbowl. It was enormous and filled with chopped melons and berries. It was placed in front of me and I began to whimper.

“There isn’t room!” I said.

“Go on!” replied Mr De Vito. “Fruit is refreshing.”

Out came the pies: Key Lime, Pecan, Pumpkin. Then came the pumpkin squares, the cannolli and other assorted pastries.

“Here’s the whipped cream,” said Mrs De Vito. “It’s hand-whipped.”

“Have some pumpkin squares,” said Marisa to her godfather.

“I’ve had a cannolli,” replied Mr De Vito.

“You’ve only had a canolli? But I made the pumpkin squares myself, you’ve got to try them. I can’ t believe that you wouldn’t taste your own god-daughter’s cake.”

“OK – pass it over.”

The desserts were swiftly followed by the walnuts, hazelnuts and  figs and the hot chestnuts, fresh out of the oven. Then came the coffee, the prosecco, the Frangelico and the Remy Martin.

Shortly after this, Mrs De Vito is trying to offload the Key Lime pie. It looks pretty good – huge great globules of meringue on top – but the lime bit is the texture of Jell-o. No one is impressed.

“Have you tried the Key Lime pie?” Mrs De Vito asks each member of the family in turn. “Try some!” she says as she hands them a spoon.

We left around 7pm with a plate piled with dessert and another with turkey and stuffing. To give you an indication of how much we took with us, as I write we still have two cannolli, one slice of pumpkin pie and two pumpkin squares.

Mad props to the De Vito clan for their Italian-style Thanksgiving. What a blast.

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and the Q train

Three teenage boys got on my carriage at 14 St-Union Sq, switched on the boom box and started busting some moves. Twists and somersaults off the bars, flips down the length of the carriage and some bizarre double-jointed action. They finished and their patter was great. I can only remember the following part:

All: (presenting their baseball caps to the audience) …Obama wants change, we want dollars.

First dancer: (quietly, by self) …and change.

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Overheard conversations, vol 1

Mum: (exiting car, opening rear passenger door, kissing daughter) I’m going to miss you so much honey!

Kid: (muffled by a hug) Me too!

Mum: (shutting door, hurrying off, looking back over her shoulder, waving) Love you times a hundred!

Kid: (quietly) Infinity. Times infinity.

Mum: (starting down steps of subway, looks up, voice becomes a little tremulous) What’s that? Oh, times one million! Love you times one million!

Kid: (with quiet insistence as car drives away) Infinity, mom.