We’ll Always Have The News



Neighborhood: Herald Square

We’ll Always Have The News
Photo by L-ines

The red-smocked amNY guy smiled wide and with a proud, “Good morning, big bro!” extended a copy of the subway newspaper my way. I stood there grinning sheepishly, neither taking the paper nor brushing him off. This was a breach of the rules of our relationship, not unlike showing up unannounced at a new fling’s apartment, flowers in hand, just to hang out.

For a while now, I’ve made it a daily routine to sneak past this particular guy as I exit the station en route to a quick errand, only to grab a copy of the paper when I return shortly thereafter. This particular guy and I hit it off quickly, jumping almost immediately into a bewitching world of fist bumps and calling each other, “my man.” One time he went so far as to lightly touch my shoulder and tell me to have a great day; an act that amounts to, “I think I’m falling for you,” in the world of daily circulars.

I like the throwaway quality of it all, and without fail it happens only when I return to the subway, never when I first leave. So when “my man” tried to hand me a newspaper out of the prearranged order, I began to fear he had sullied our budding relationship with new, never-agreed-upon expectations of commitment. Unfortunately, this anxiety is not new to me. Every time I get close to being considered a “regular”, I pull away and ruin it all. After once visiting the same McDonald’s twice in one day, a cashier kindly informed me that I was becoming “a real fixture” at that location. I chuckled nervously and never returned. I still occasionally look back with regret on the multitude of McGriddles and $1 any size coffees that I’ll never know.

I backed off from what could have been true love with a halal cart when the vendor noticed an ice coffee in my hand and pressed me for how much I had paid, noting that his coffee was cheaper and better. That sort of jealousy, more so than the likely bacteria time bomb in every bite of the hastily prepared lamb over rice, was enough to make me abandon forever his enchanting and reasonably priced lunch.

Now, faced with an unwanted newspaper, I had to decide whether to play the runaway bride once more or dig deep and settle down. I knew I could jump ship by breaking his heart and cheating on him with a Metro, or still yet, by snatching an Epoch Times, thus proving I’m not the sort of person he’d want to be with anyway.

In the end though, I decided to make a change and forgo the sowing of my wild oats. I quietly took hold of the paper, said a humble and low, “Thank you, my man,” and headed up the stairs, because sometimes we have to make sacrifices for the people we care about.

Andrew Leonard lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn with his wife and requisite labradoodle. He appeared in the Rooftop Comedy Tour and worked on “Still Buffering,” an internet-themed late night show at the UCB Theater East. He works in the non-profit public policy world. You can follow him on Twitter at @aleonardbc.

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