Every Sunday morning I go to Tal Bagels on 83rd and Lexington to get one of their mini specials. After six days of oatmeal I give myself a break. Not that I’m not fond of the porridge I make every day with its healthy accouterments…flaxseed, fruit, almonds…but let’s face it, even a good thing has its limits.
The place is owned and run by an Indian family all under five feet tall, ranging from the mother who sits in the back, her bright blue bindi blinking as you enter, a father who resentfully bakes and a hoard of snotty sons that wait on you.
The only thing missing at Tal’s is charm.
The bagel I get that I top with an organic soft-boiled egg would fit on your keychain. It’s the tiniest of bagels that I pay .85 for, but perfect if you don’t want all that excess yeast that inflates your stomach like helium.
Every Sunday without fail, one of the Indians after I order will say, “Just woon?” “Yes, I answer, “Just one.” He reluctantly puts it in a bag and grimaces every time I ask for a napkin. I ask you, how much could a half-ply piece of paper cost anyway?
This particular morning a very Floridian looking woman was standing behind me. You know the type, all Botoxed and landfilled dressed from head to toe in black even though it’s 6:15 in the morning.
“Dunncha lav it hea?” she whined into my better ear. “Oy make-em FedEx me a feeu dazen ta moy otha house. Oy’m hea at my pea-e-tea but spand heaf the yea in Pawm Beeech (no shit lady). I never understand the need to talk so much at that hour, especially to someone you don’t know.
Wanting to flee but my Connecticut refusing to allow it, I stood there listening to this woman whose face made me dizzy since both cheeks kind of veered to the left. What, did Doctor Nutjob forget to use his ruler? Talk about ads for leaving your face alone.
She was raving about Tals. I mean, it’s okay and its biggest feature for me is that it opens so early, but it’s not exactly the Stage Deli. I finally said, “You sound like you’d be a great PR woman.”
What possessed me because she went into a swoon I could have truly done without. “Oy whaz a P-AH woman be-forr oy met moy Oyving…haw paceptive you ah.”
I then, tying the noose tighter said, “Since you love them so much, why not do PR for Tals.”
“Vot a gerr-ate oy-dea. Oyed do it fa bagels.”
Made perfect sense considering how many she orders. I could make the same offer to get my weekly bagel for free. Maybe I can come early and help them lift the gate. I’m up. Oh what am I saying, anyway…I finally escaped Maa-rilyn who wrote her number on a napkin that Indian number four gladly gave her, in case I’m ever in Pawm Beeech.
“Vee cun Shahh-p.”
As I walked home with my pint-sized bagel that pretty soon would become a paperweight, I thought, maybe I should just solder it to my keychain, to get my .85 worth.
I’m a girl on a budget after all, and what’s a little Quaker Oats seven days in a row.
Oy vey, is all I can say.