The Criminal Look on Ditmars

33-18 Ditmars Blvd, Queens, NY 11105

Neighborhood: All Over, Queens

Last Friday the weather beckoned for some ice cream. I got a scoop (caveat: I am a messy eater. Caveat: I hate the word caveat) and walked down Ditmars, taking in the sights and sounds of my part of Queens. There were a lot of men out in muscle tee’s talkin’ tough and gesturing wildly w/their hands. Machismo overflowed like the sun’s rays onto my dripping, sloppy cone. What lighting, what a show!

One man stood in the doorway of the deli next to Dunkin’ Donuts. (This deli, btw, serves its egg sandwiches w/unasked for bacon and unsalted butter on the roll.) He was wearing a ribbed-white tank, and he had a cell phone that he was yelling into.

“Yeah, they stole my car. But I showed them!”

This man was also yelling at me. Usually, I try not to make eye-contact w/angry people, especially if their ire is directed my way, but his stare was that intense, his glare that concentrated, I knew he was trying to tell me something … important.

Did he think I stole his car? Was he trying to let me know that the people who stole his car had also been the evil culprits behind the theft of my bicycle (which had been stolen the week before, blocks away)? My mind made extreme leaps of logic as my eyes searched his insane gaze for some modicum of meaning. I looked away while he continued the tirade about his car. He was so upset, so animated and so unabashed about looking at me!

What could he want? Suddenly, he gave a smile, which betrayed a genuine sensitivity — the sort of sensitivity, in fact, one would need to make the following statement.

Softly, with a benevolent tone: “You have ice cream on your nose.”

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