We don’t live in a small town. It’s not a city by any means, but it’s big. 5 Starbucks in a 3 mile radius big. But yesterday, as I ran some errands, I realized I’ve carved out a pretty unusual niche for myself. I’ve got people. I’ve got towns folk. I’ve got peeps that I know. And by “know” I mean I speak to them on a semi-daily basis.
Nice lady at The Bagel Train – she and I go way back. Any woman who can supply me with that much warm bread is a keeper. But our conversations don’t stop there. Last year I got into a Zumba class frenzy (I’ve been cured since) and I’d see her at some of the classes in the local community center. This is what warm bread love gets you. We’d always wave hello from across the way and then I’d hide behind some moms in the back. These past few weeks I’ve been chatting her up about a new restaurant that opened up on Main Street. Even though neither one of us has tried it we’ve decided it sucks. She’s so great. And she smells like an everything bagel.
Family that owns the dry cleaners – now this is good. The Mae’s immigrated here from Korea in 1974. They lived in Queens, NY for the majority of the 80′s. The father and mother both got jobs at a local dry cleaner in their neighborhood and saved enough money to buy a store of their own. Then they bought another. And another. In between, they had a son and a daughter. The son (like his father) is an amazing golfer – he went to school in Florida on scholarship and now lives in Augusta,Ga with his family. How do I know all this? Because every time I drop off the laundry, I’d notice that the dad was watching the golf channel. Although I don’t play – I’ve run enough tournaments to talk the talk. We connected. We were one. Kinda. Anyway, they moved to our town because their daughter was accepted to Princeton. So they sold all the other stores, bought one here and decided to stay. She’s since graduated and moved to California. They also have a lovely Ecuadorian family that works there. A husband and wife (she just had their 4th boy!) I love the Mae’s.
Susan and Reese at CVS – Susan is the morning manager. She gets to the store at 6am and stays until 2pm. We bonded over all the photos I get printed there. She always gives me the pictures at the discounted coupon price even though I don’t have the actual coupons. Don’t tell anyone. Reese is a 19-year-old cashier that works there. He looks like a frat boy whose gonna give you a bad attitude – but in reality, he’s the nicest dude ever. I’ve never seen someone with a bigger smile while they haul cases of water around. I got to know him because Susan is his mom. There are two of these stores that bookend my neighborhood. One of them is much closer than the other – but I go the longer distance for the both of them. I’m a weirdo stalker like that.
I love people.
There’s also the quirky gal at Wines and Spirits and Raj at Dunkin Donuts, but you get the point.