Just as I was thinking that my meetings with strangers have dwindled to an unsatisfactory degree, something that surprised even my blasé self happened this Saturday. It started with me going to my favourite bakery very, very early in the morning. It was around 8:15 when I left home and 8:45 when I got there, and quite an experience to walk through the empty streets of Soho at that time of the day. I had to go this early, you see, because they had only a week before come up with a new sweet that was an instant hit.
It’s called a Cronut, and it’s a weird breed between a croissant and a doughnut, which is apparently pretty hard to make – deepfrying all those layers of pastry is a bummer, or so say the experts. Now all the reviews were raving about it, and since I love all their stuff I was literally drooling to get one, but the first two times I got there last week (around 1 pm and 12 respectively) they were sold out. I was helpfully told that these things need to be prepared 3 days in advance, and so the bakery has only a limited number, which usually sells out within the first hour of their opening. And that there’s always a line when they do open (at 8 am) and that some people just get the whole tray. This mythology predictably just contributed to its allure and made me want it more.
So then, here I was, on that fateful Saturday morning, and miraculously, here it was, too…Well. As I was queuing for my cronut, I must confess to my shame I did listen carefully to what the three customers ahead of me were ordering, praying fervently they wouldn’t be one of those “tray people” … when I got to the counter, and I ordered a cronut, mentioning it was the third time I came and the first time they had it, the guy smirked and uttered the dreaded words: “we’re sold out!” But no, it was just a joke (one in very bad taste!). Anyway, just to be on the safe side and get my fill of this little wonder, I ordered two. I ate one…
but – shock! horror! – didn’t actually enjoy it so much. It’s ok, but filled with a lot of cream – which if you remember from my other post is not my thing. I actually had to force myself to eat it, and would not buy it again. Give me a DKA anytime. So anythow, now I was thinking what to do with the extra one I had, which was in a paper bag. I didn’t fancy carrying it around with me – to the NYC ballet box office, and then up to The Cloisters. The bag didn’t even have handles! So then I figured I might offer it to a homeless person, who might enjoy it and would probably not pay over $5 dollars for an over-hyped type of pastry.
Little did I know that fate had something else in store for me. Briefly after getting on the subway to go uptown, I noticed an interesting ad and got up to take a photo. As I was doing so, this girl sitting underneath it piped up to tell me she liked my dress. I smiled, thanked her, and retreated back to my seat and my book. A few minutes later, still concentrating on my reading, I had the niggling feeling that someone was trying to capture my attention. I looked up, and lo and behold! it was indeed the selfsame girl, who had been saying “hey, how are you” to me a few times now. I looked to my left, and then to my right… yep, no one around. Interesting that she would not be deterred by my book – or by anything else!
The short conversation that followed was along the following lines: she asked me where I was from – I replied Europe. She wanted to know what I was doing in NYC and how long I had been here for (a bit like an immigration officer, come to think of it). If I had made many friends. If I went to many parties. If I would like to go to parties with her. If we can hang out, since I looked very cool. If I could give her my phone numnber. If we could be friends on facebook. I did answer all her questions truthfully, and we ended up talking about what she was doing in town, and shopping, and all sorts of things. I had to disappoint on the hanging out front though, since I revealed I was about to leave New York in a few days. So I declined sharing my number … but instead, I asked if she would like a cronut.
I’d like to think the second cronut has found a happy home. And that there are more people who would fearlessly approach strangers they deem cool.