Yesterday a bunch of us decided to be adventurous.
Seeing as how I usually abuse my weekends by lying around, watching TV and writing—leaving the house, to me, more than qualifies as adventurous. Even more risqué and daring than leaving the house was rendezvousing with my coworkers for lunch in Central Park.
I previously vowed not to put myself in any further compromising situations. And truth be told, this wasn’t one, but it was a risky decision nevertheless and it should’ve been considered more carefully.
When I hear “Let’s go have lunch in the park,” I immediately think “Picnic.” But, the old-fashioned kind – like with a basket, some sandwiches and if I have anything to do with it, a bottle of vodka disguised as a bottle of water. Wrong. We were going to go buy lunch and bring it with.
Anybody have suggestions? I did. (Of course I did). “Let’s go to the Union Square farmer’s market and grab some snacks and rootbeer.”
Without giving even an ounce of thought to my creative suggestion, it had been decided that we were going to go to Zabar’s on the Upper West Side. I agree, this makes a lot more sense in terms of proximity, but how they all collectively sensed this was the right decision – well that’s right up there with religious unity and the collective acceptance of a heavenly message. Or something like that.
Zabar’s it was.
As we approached Zabar’s, everyone in the group started singing its praise in various forms. A couple people simply declared how much they loved it. Another two were seemingly competing for the title of who goes there most often and a solitary competitor spoke of the fact that his parents actually know (knew?) Eli Zabar and his family. Oh yeah, "Aren't our people phenomenal?" Asked another.
“Don’t you love Zabar’s?” One finally asked me, in a move that appropriately singled me out.
“Never been,” I replied.
A collective, albeit brief, hush consumed the group as we entered the deli. I’d like to think this moment of silence was a means of paying homage to the cultural Mecca at hand, but I know it was the result of the shock that surrounded my confession.
Then, Redheaded Girl With the Annoying Long Island Accent: “You’ve never been to Zabar’s?!”
I simply repeated that, “No,” I had not. I think that my nonplussed attitude hindered the pending conversation in its tracks. Thank G-d.
But moving on to the actual point of my story... Lunch orders consisted of three Nova lox bagels, one Nova lox on Health bread, one Nova lox on pumpernickel, one Philadelphia sushi roll* and one plain bagel—toasted—with peanut butter and jelly. Oh yeah, a pre-packaged flan to boot.
It was no less than a game of ‘Which Object in this Picture Does Not Belong?’
Did I miss a memo or something?**
*Philadelphia Roll: Nova lox, cream cheese, cucumber.
**Nope. No memo. Checked my inbox this morning when I got to work.