On my way to work today an old black woman with short gray curly hair, a stomach borrowed from the Michelin Man and a full whoopee cushion in her left hand, hollered at me as I was crossing the street. How I knew she was vying for my attention, I have no idea. Just one of those things you start to sense in the city: when some stranger wants to speak with you, you know.
She was asking me for the Belmont bus as I am partially crossing MLK and I come back far enough to speak to her, not quite enough to leave the street. I’m oddly confused by her question: I’m crossing at Couch and somehow I have no idea why the Belmont bus would be relevant.
I answer hastily, then point her South, towards Belmont street suggesting the bus is likely there and I miss what she says to me as I turn away to go to work. Yet, even as I cross the street, I realize I’m being a little rude and it’s too late to fix it now. Not to get all Ferris Bueller on everyone but I had decided I was too busy to stop and ensure I was being kind to a stranger. I like to think that I’m better than that but the truth is, sometimes I am not.
I’ve come back to the Produce Row Cafe because last week, I was not at my best. I needed to visit again and reside here under circumstances where my body was not under duress. I’ve ordered an Epic Hopulent imperial IPA, which is on nitro and stunningly good, considering. Nitro rarely seems to be an effective choice for beers that aren’t in the stout family, it’s nice to be so pleasantly surprised that the nose and hop bitterness are still present, with a smoothness in the middle encouraged by the nitro aspect.
A Do Over is, somehow, entrenched in our society. I can’t think of a kid who doesn’t get the Do Over and though it takes a different form as adults-frequently accompanied by an apology-I think that it’s good to remember that everybody needs a chance to make amends, to do it better than they did it before, even if it’s just a random interaction with a stranger. Except it isn’t a Do Over at that point, more like a Do Again. It’s a funny paradox: you can only do things once, yet you need to do them over and over to do them better.