This is not about Ringo. But as a postscript to a concert you leave on a high only to walk smack into a low, it rocks.
All flights—of fancy or reality—come down to earth. For four happy people hot off Ringo’s 70th at Radio City, the landing strip was the sidewalks of New York, on 6th Avenue. (Be it ever so hubristic, there’s no place like an Avenue of the Americas to a New Yorker. It’s 6th Avenue.)
Mantra-like rounds of “With a Little Help From My Friends” still ringoing in our eardrums, we’d barely taken ten steps when one of us, Dottie, seemingly still too on air to keep to her own space, inadvertently—or was it carelessly?—ran into a pedestrian coming from the opposite direction. Bear in mind I said “seemingly.”
On impact, a clear, plastic-hinged “deli” food container flew out of the man’s arms, tumbled downward to land with a crunchy thud, opened and scattered its contents on the pavement. “Oh.., my food!” despaired the forlorn victim in the face of our identifiable surfeit. His small portion of food lay at our feet, its spicy aroma admonishing us for our clumsy lapse of urbanity. The moment went to Dottie’s heart.
Dottie has been a New Yorker for two-and-a-half-years, i.e., not long enough to be a New Yorker. A young woman of eye-catching savoir flair, we have to take it on faith that she comes from McKees Rocks, PA, population 6, 018, just outside of Pittsburgh. She works as a hostess at "Alice's Tea Cup" while plotting eventually to open her own edgy coffee shop.
Dottie’s heart went out to the poor man. Chagrined, she thrust her hand into her wallet and pulled a bill from it. His arm was outstretched before hers was. He took the bill, said thank you almost inaudibly, and departed.
We asked how much she gave him. A twenty, she said. When asked why so much, she explained it was all she had. Guilt pays—someone else.
We walked about ten yards—and ran into a small pile of food. Ironically, it looked like and smelled like the first pile. Something smelled rotten. We walked another ten or fifteen yards and found, yep, another small pile of food. We started to backtrack, passing glimpsing “Peace and Love” concertgoers and inspecting tourists. Mound by mound, we confirmed that Dottie’d been had. At a loss at the moment to do anything else, we took pictures of the food with our cell phone cameras and went to dinner.
As we recounted the hustle, a new one to us, over a good meal, the unfleeced three buying, Dottie described to us how she had seen the man coming toward her and tried to get out of his way, but couldn’t—he just kept coming at her. So much for “seemingly”—she wasn’t at all remiss, or careless, or oblivious. She was scammed! We were all taken in. And Dottie E. of McKees Rocks, PA, is $20 closer to being a New Yorker.