Monday, June 29, 2009

Olly & Skater Guy: Subway Sandwiches, Slurpees, Sefarim & Surprises

Today I decided I wished to sample the fare at the kosher Subway in Queens. This Subway is located on 141-24 Jewel Avenue in Flushing, NY 11367. You can contact them at (718) 544-SUBS (7827). You see, Subway is a chain branch and is generally not kosher. So the idea of eating a kosher subway sandwich appealed to me. I was curious about how it would taste! RaggedyMom mentioned that if I were in that area anyway, there was a nice Jewish bookstore and other fun haunts on Main Street, and I was excited to entertain myself by wandering through Queens.

Thus, I entered Subway and talked to the nice man at the front counter. We shall call him a 'sandwich professional' as that is the title he went by. I told him it was my first time at Subway and thus I was unsure as to what exactly I wanted to eat. I was looking at pastrami, steak, bologna, salami and all other kinds of cold cuts. The sandwich professional happily informed me that when I purchased a sandwich from Subway, I got points on my Subway rewards card and also received a discount at the wine store next door.

"That'd be nice if I was legal," I stated, laughing.

"I knew you were young but not that young!" he exclaimed.

"Yeah, I'm 20, almost 21," I said, smiling.

Adjacent to me stood a guy who was finishing up his order. He had a cap, exciting headphones, a skateboard and a backpack. He has dark hair, an open expression and seems the sort to see things very clearly. This is aside from the fact that he's very attractive. "You're very jolly," he remarked to me, referring to my excitement over my Subway sandwich.

"Yes, I am," I stated, turning to him. "Aren't you?"

"I like to think I am, yes," he told me.

"Are you a New Yorker?" I questioned further.

"Yup," he said, eyes twinkling.

"Then you've dispelled the stereotype!" I laughed. "Since supposedly New Yorkers are cold and all." I then turned my attention to the sandwiches and ingredients therein (pickles, salad, sauces, onions, etc) as the skater guy tried to pay for his sandwich.

"Oh, we don't take credit cards, sir," stated the sandwich professional. "Only cash."

The skater guy looked panicked. "I only have a credit card," he stated apologetically.

I stepped in, handing the sandwich professional a $20 bill. "It's not a problem," I said. "I'll pay for him." After all, I've been in plenty of situations like this before. There's a restaraunt back home in Chicago called Slice of Life that only takes cash, not credit cards. It's always an unfortunate occurrence when this happens. And I know the panicked feeling and other unhappiness that swoops down upon you, so if you can spare a person that, why not?

"You know each other, I presume?" questioned the sandwich professional as he took my bill.

"Nope," I stated cheerfully. In truth, it wasn't necessary for skater guy to pay me back but I didn't want to make him feel bad. "You'll pay me back another time," I stated, smiling at him.

"Are you a student at Queens College?" he asked.

"Nope," I said. "I've just finished Stern." My phone rang, Lightman's Phantom of the Opera violin theme resounding throughout the eatery. It was my friend Michael Greenberg. I didn't pick up, figuring I would call him back later.

"I'll take down your information and pay you back," he stated fervently, a promise he intended to keep.

"It's really okay," I said as he took his sandwich and sat down. I moved on to creating my sandwich. "I'm going to leave it up to you," I told the sandwich professional. "Go ahead and give me whatever you think I'll like!"

"I'm 44, you know," the sandwich professional told me as he squirted Thousand Island sauce onto my pastrami sandwich. "But I look young. It's a problem with shidduchim; I look so young."

"It's a good problem to have," I told him. "You're young, young-at-heart, that's a wonderful quality."

He continued preparing my sandwich and I thanked him profusely. Skater guy came over to me in the interim and handed me a $10 bill. He had rooted through his knapsack and discovered it. Thus, I paid for his sandwich and he ended up paying for mine, as I used the $10 for my 6"inch sub.

When I sat down, I decided to talk to skater guy, who seemed friendly, approachable and kind. "So are you a student at Queens College?" I inquired.

"Yup," he said. "They have this program where you can do business but another major on the side. I'm doing philosophy."

"That's fantastic!" I stated. One of my friends who is currently finishing up Law School had majored in philosophy; she loved it.

"So did you do the whole year in Israel thing?" he questioned.

"Nope," I said. "Went straight to Stern, had some AP and college credits, and that's how I did four years in three. Have to take two summer courses at Hunter College, then I'm starting Revel."

"The graduate school?"

"Yup," I said. "Did you do the year in Israel thing?"

"Two years," he told me.

"Where were you at?"

"Gush," he said.

"Gush!" I exclaimed. "Hey, then you must know all my friends." I listed them all off. "Simcha Gross, Ben Greenfield, Michael Greenberg..."

"I went to high school with Michael Greenberg!" he stated.

"Ha, he just called me!" I laughed. "I'll have to call him back and say I met his friend. That's fabulous. Say, have you got any napkins?"

"Nope, was wondering how to get those myself."

"I shall go purloin some napkins," I stated, and brilliantly did so while he asked for his sandwich to be wrapped up. He had to return to school for class.

"Were you also a philosophy major?" he inquired.

"Nope," I stated. "English Literature, close enough!"

"Yes, that is close enough," he agreed amicably.

We introduced ourselves and now I know his name, although for the purposes of this blog he shall be known as Skater Guy. In any case Skater Guy is a fabulous individual and I'm very happy that my chance encounter in Subway means that I shall have a new friend!

After enjoying my delicious pastrami sandwich and thanking members of the eatery, I listened to Michael's message. To my great enjoyment, he had called to tell me he had just seen me walking down Main & Jewel and couldn't stop because there was no place to park, but he had been amused. Thus, he had called me.

I walked out of the shop and encountered a 7/11. "Perfect," I thought, and bought myself a Coke slurpee. I enjoyed it while wandering through Amazing Savings, and then, walking onward, encountered the Sefarim Store RaggedyMom had informed me of.

Now, I had written the rabbi of my shul, R' Gershon Schaffel, an email inquiring as to whether he could tell me of a good commentary to the daily prayers. As all of you know, I have difficulty with prayer; I can write prayers and say them in English but it's very hard to mean them in Hebrew. He wrote me back last night and stated that, "One that is good is R' Avigdor Miller's commentary Praise, My Soul." Now, previously I would never have been caught dead reading a R' Miller book, but Jordan changed my perspective on all that. Huzzah for Jordan! So, intrigued, I wandered into Safra & Stam's and located the book in question.

Wanting to pay for it, I looked through my purse and discovered that I had lost my credit card.

Hmm, I thought to myself. When did I do that? Was it when I went to the Butterfly Garden at the Bronx Zoo? But I remember paying for that in cash. So when did I last use my credit card?

Looking through my purse once more, my eye happened to light upon a receipt for a purchase from a drugstore that I had made on Friday. I normally do not keep receipts, so I knew that if I had seen this one, it was meant to tell me something. Of course, I thought to myself. I bought something at the drugstore and left my credit card there. And to my good fortune, the drugstore is located just across the street.

I debated as to whether to pay $27 for Praise, My Soul in cash when, if I could not find my credit card, that would mean I would potentially have no way to get to Scarsdale. Thus, I would effectively remain stranded in New York forever. No, I decided. God definitely wanted me to see that receipt; the lady at the drugstore has my credit card. Thus, I paid my $27 in cash, placed the smiley-faced plastic bag with the enclosed book around my wrist, and walked across the street.

"Hello," I said, smiling at the Russian lady. "You may not remember me, but a couple of days ago I was here to make a purchase. I was just wondering- did you happen to find a credit card made out to Olivia?"

Her whole face lit up. She walked behind the register, opened it up, and pulled out my credit card.

"Olivia ________," I told her my full name.

"Spell it out," she told me, and I did so.

She handed it over. She had been keeping it for me; it was safe and sound. I hadn't even realized I had lost it.

"Thank you so much!" I exclaimed gladly. First I have my LaGuardian Angel, rescuer of laptops, and now I meet the Russian lady who saves people's credit cards. As soon as I exited the store, I pulled out my phone to call up The Little Old Lady.

"Hello Little Old Lady!" I stated happily. "Guess what just happened..." and I told her my remarkable story. "I think that God saw I wanted to do something nice and pay for Skater Guy's lunch so He decided that I ought to be helped in return and made sure I got my credit card back. I hadn't even realized it was missing! Imagine what would have happened if I left to Washington Heights and only realized it was gone when I had to pay some exorbitant sum of money. They'd be delivering a bed, I would pull out my credit card, only to realize that poof! there was no credit card. I would completely have forgotten about my drugstore purchase; the card would have been gone forever. And the only reason I walked into Safra's was because RaggedyMom had mentioned there was a Jewish bookstore there, and the only reason I wanted to buy something was because R' Schaffel had recommended the book to me...and if not for that, I would never have thought to look for my credit card."

The Little Old Lady liked my story very much. "You have so many stories, you should write a book already!" she informed me. You see, I had told her about Kurt and Sean (the LaGuardian Angel) and various other experiences...

"Oh, I just write them all on my blog," I said.

And there you have it. God is wonderful!


Walter Sobchak said...

Are you going for a PhD @ Revel? If so, in what, if that is not a secret?

nmf #7 said...

Excellent Hashgacha Pratis! And, why in heaven's name would you not want to read R' Avigdor Miller? Phenomenal books- I would think it would be something to peak your curiousity.

Chana said...

Nope, a Masters in Bible, assuming God smiles upon me.

NMF #7,
I had a less-than-stellar experience when reading Rejoice O'Youth back in the day. Let's just say it was not the appropriate book for me to read at that age.

Walter Sobchak said...

You have a good heart - God will smile on you. Though I suspect you'll get your Masters regardless of His facial expression :)

Baruch said...

This is such an entertaining story.
Chana,it sounds like you are having a blast in NY. Enjoy it before the school starts because it'll be back to papers, ton of reading and tests pretty soon. I don't believe that the work scares you. I think you are looking forward to new experiences. Btw, I love your blog!

dustfinger said...

i have a clip of "Praise, My Soul" at home sweetie. lol i wanted you to make a blog post of it, remember? it's of the "shema koleinu part." Anyway, your story is hilarious. Only you.

the only way i know said...

Rabbi Avigdor Miller is one of the most, if not the most loved people by me of this age. Loved because I feel he is(was) the epitomy of honesty, down to earthedness, and of humbleness and greatness. He was a genius and was able to teach at any level. He didn't need to impress - he needed to only spread awareness of G-d through being who he was and teaching from his soul. A person knows truth when he hears truth. I feel truth and connection when I hear him/read him.

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