In January, I left New York briefly in favor of warmer weather. While I was away, my boss had flowers delivered to my apartment in the West Village as congratulations for reaching my one-year anniversary with our company. In her celebratory haste, she forgot I was out of town.
I didn’t want the beautiful arrangement to go to waste, so I texted my super.
“There are flowers arriving for me today and I am not there,” I wrote. “Please give them to your wife!”
I thought that was kind of me.
“No,” he replied. “I’ll just place them inside your apartment.”
I thought that was kind of bizarre.
A week later, I arrived home to a snowstorm. It was absolutely freezing outside. Unfortunately, it was also freezing inside. My radiator wasn’t working.
Curled up in a thick blanket with two layers of clothing on, I texted the super. He arrived promptly to fix the problem. Minutes later, I heard him cheer
“You fixed it?” I asked.
“No,” he said. “But my wife just confirmed that she signed the divorce papers.”
A few minutes later, I heard the whistling sound of heat coming through the radiator.
— Bridget Evans
Knees and Hands
I was on a morning train from New Haven to Grand Central. Three people got on and sat in a four-seat section, two seats facing on either side, at the head of the car.
At a subsequent stop, a man got on the train. In one deft move, he sat down with the three people, freed the poster that was mounted on the wall nearby and positioned it on the eight collected knees. A deck of cards appeared, and the game began.
When the train arrived at Grand Central, the poster was returned to its rightful place, the cards were put away and the foursome went their separate ways.
— Stephen Condict
When my car is parked in a “good spot” — one that I wouldn’t have to give up to comply with alternate-side parking rules — I know that when I pull out in the morning for my teaching job in Connecticut, the doorman who works down the block will be waiting for me in his silver Subaru. It’s a parking dance that’s been going on for about 20 years
One Thursday morning, I was in the car adjusting my mirrors and plugging in my phone when the doorman pulled alongside me with his passenger-side window down.
“Hey,” he said. “What time do you come back to the city?”
“Um, around 4:30 or 5,” I said.
“If you get here by 4, you can have the spot back,” he said.
I thanked him, thinking to myself that he had never asked that before. And as he backed up to give me room to pull out, it occurred to me that it would be an ideal time to ask his name.
After all these years, I still had no idea what it was.
— Kimberly Steinhorn
I was a music student living on the Upper West Side, and I was rushing to catch the subway for an orchestra rehearsal downtown.
I made in onto the platform just as the train doors began to close. I reached out, wallet in hand, and stopped them from closing completely. I assumed they would spring back open, but they didn’t.
As the train began to move, I realized my hand was more important than my wallet and pulled back. The wallet fell to the floor inside the train. I could see the coin purse pop open, scattering coins all over. Dejected, I made a mental list of everything I now needed to replace.
That night at home, a young woman called. Had I lost a wallet in a subway train that afternoon? Yes, I said.
We agreed on a place to meet, and when we did, the wallet was intact: money, cards and all — including coins. The people on the train had collected nearly all of them, the woman said.
— Barbara Shacklett
I went to a tailor in the West Village to have a few pairs of pants let out. He told me it would not be possible to make the alteration I was hoping for on these particular trousers.
He then proceeded to get down on the floor and demonstrate the proper way to do situps. After doing 10 flawless ones, he snapped back up and advised me to do the same situps 15 minutes each night before going to bed because it “makes you very sleepy.”
I thanked him very much, returned to my apartment and went online to order pants in the next waist size up.
— Bill Oberlander
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Illustrations by Agnes Lee
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