Determined to do my laundry, I go downstairs only to find that the detergent that had been clearly marked with my name has now disappeared. Saddened, I look longingly at the other bottles of detergent, which are not mine. I cannot explain to you the compulsion that came over me. They'll never miss it, I thought to myself. I'll just take a bit of their detergent, do my laundry, and buy some more later. Otherwise, I would have to go upstairs, get my wallet, and then purchase detergent, which would require walking and more.
Despite letting my hand hover longingly over other people's detergent, I determined that I am not a thief and went upstairs, gathering my wallet and ID. "Where are you going?" inquired my roommate, who noticed I had decided to put on my flip-flops. "To buy detergent," I answered succinctly, and walked out the door.
I strangely passed right by the Duane Reade, and continued walking until I saw a Gristedes. Aha! I thought, and my eyes lit up. I should be able to buy detergent there! This is when I noticed an extremely friendly black man at the street corner. "Mah Shlomech?" he said to me. I was completely astounded. "Thanks for asking!" I said happily, trying to figure out how he even knew I was Jewish. Oh, of course. I was wearing a Yeshiva Maccabees t-shirt. I walked a little closer to him and he smiled at me again. His eyes radiated kindness. "Did you know that God, that is, Jesus, loves you and he died for your sins?" he asked me. I opened my mouth to answer, then shut it again. "You look blown away by that," he continued. I looked up at him again. "Thank you so much for telling me," I said. "I think it's really nice of you to stand on the street corner in order to tell people how much God loves them. I think you're a really nice person." He smiled at me again. "But do you believe it?" he asked. "No, I don't," I said sweetly, "but I think you are very nice!" I looked quizically at the white woman standing beside him. "I am a Messianist," she said fervently, about to begin her speech. I noticed the Walk sign ahead of me. "Excuse me," I said to both of them, while the black man told me where his Church was located, "I have to go, but thanks very much." The black man called after me, "Remember, Jesus loves you!"
So I have now officially experienced New York. Don't worry, it gets better...
I'm in Gristedes, in the line to purchase detergent. One Asian woman ahead of us (in the Express line) has forgotten an item and must go find it. "There's always one of them," a man drawls behind me. Surreptitiously, I turn a little, thinking that maybe I can brighten his mood. I turn back again, having thought better of it. "I like your shirt!" he says suddenly. I turn to face him and he is nodding, having pulled out a golden Magen David he wears on a chain around his neck. "My last name is Cohen," he says pleasantly, pointing to the Magen David. I swear I wanted to say "Jew Power!" but thought that would be slightly inappropriate. "My last name is ________," I told him, laughing a little. We waited in line, and I offered to let him go before me. He said that was very nice of me, but declined. I said goodbye to him before I left and he called after me "Take care!" with a tinge of a Brooklyn accent.
And this is what happens when you wear a Maccabees t-shirt in New York City.