Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Why You Should Never Eat In Cheap Retaurants

It was 14 degrees. At least that's what the neon sign on Lexington Avenue said. It was the dark of winter in New York, and I had just gotten off the 86 crosstown bus, home from working at a fish restaurant I hated. A stray dog stood in front of the bus as I got off and the bus dispatcher said he kept getting on the buses only to have each of the drivers take him off again. He was dirty and sad looking. Like many of the men I've met. I took him home. Like many of the men I've met.

I had a Yorkie who hated the big mutt immediately. I named him Panda because he looked like one. My dog's name was "Selfish and Spoiled", but I called him "My Boyfriend" for short.

I took Panda to a vet and the doctor discovered its previous owner had cut one of the dog's ears in HALF. With scissors. So I had him sewed up. I paid for his shots.

When I got home the restaurant called and fired me.

I had complained that the chefs kept throwing monkey dishes at our heads if we didn't pick up our orders fast enough. They also retrieved food from the floor and put it back on the stoves. But I was fired.

I had six dollars in the bank. I sat in a chair and cried while that mutt crawled up on my lap, put one paw on each of my shoulders and licked my tears. My own dog went to the kitchen and nosed his food dish around. To remind me that we could no longer afford dog food.

I had to find a new owner for the stray so I began walking my neighborhood with a big black and white mutt with half his head bandaged. One of those endless days, someone tapped me on the back and I turned around and saw an old woman dressed in multiple layers of clothes, endless accessories, a lack of makeup and frizzed out hair. I'd never seen her before and thought she might have been homeless.

I said "yes?" She said, "turn around." I turned back around and she took her right hand and made some chicken scratching movements on my upper back. When she stopped she said, "Don't worry, everything will work out. It will be fine."

I thanked her and started to walk away, relieved she hadn't asked for money I didn't have. But it occurred to me I hadn't asked her WHY everything was going to be okay so I turned back. She was nowhere to be seen. I lived on a very wide avenue, and there wasn't a lot of foot traffic on any given day because that part of the upper East side, by Gracie Mansion, was not accessible by subway, only bus or taxi. She had just vanished into thin air. And I never saw her again in the ten years I lived there after that incident.

The next day as I ONCE AGAIN walked with Panda, a woman came out of the flower shop on our street. She asked me why the dog was bandaged and I told her the story. She said she wanted a dog but her husband didn't and wouldn't let her get one. She called her husband and persuaded him to meet me and Panda later that day. When we arrived, Panda peed on the guy's shoes. The wife said, THIS IS OUR DOG!! The husband laughed and gave in and they took him. With a bandaged head.

I kept in touch with them for about a year. They kept Panda as the dog's name. They also discovered what my own vet had missed. That poor dog had 2 cut ears.

I got another job waiting tables not even a week later.

Things always do work out, even if it doesn't feel like it at the time.

And it NEVER feels like it at the time.


  1. -->It's karma baby. You get back what you put out there.
    Just wait, things will work out for you too but only if you stop swearing every other God damn word on Twitter.

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  3. I loved this story Suzy! I laughed, I cried, I avoided crazy homeless women who scratch like chickens.

  4. Well, sheesh - I guess its time to stop feeling sorry for myself then.

  5. I'm a firm believer in this - That things do always work out no matter how hard & hopeless they seem in the moment.

    Wonderful post. I LOVE the stories on this blog!

  6. Beautiful story! Looking at that face in the pic, it is no wonder you fell for him, what a cutie! Good for you and your open heart even when you were having your own troubles!

  7. so, let me get this straight...you owned a PANDA?! in NEW YORK?! how cosmopolitan.

    just kidding. i really liked this story :)

  8. You are my old woman with the chicken scratch today.

    I got back from my trip to find my husband had been laid off--his company didn't get a big contract they'd been counting on and did a reduction in force. I was already sure it would be alright, but you have really reassured me.

    This is pretty freaky.

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  10. I KNEW there was a reason why I like you so much! What a great story! And your Dad made chili once a month for applause? Men. I send much love and well wishes. xoxo m

  11. Killer closer.

    Yes, it never NEVER feels like it at the time.

    Only when we have the luxury of looking back.

    It reminds me of this quote that I have always loved, "She would've worried a lot less in Chapter 3 if she had known how things had worked themselves out by Chapter 5."

  12. I so agree with websavymom that it's karma and you get back what you put out. You're a good person.

  13. Anonymous12:23 PM

    I love you. What is a "monkey dish"?

  14. This was truly moving. I might be partial though, because I'm a dog person.

  15. Great story.

    [scratching your back]

  16. White females love to pity - ANYTHING! It is a fault and, I guess at times, a virtue. Every time I hear of a home where a vast collection of animals were found, I know it's a white female ... doin' her thing. The intent is to do good. The result, usually disaster. I believe the pets are usually a substitute for lack of love in their lives (children/husband) ... and a desperate desire to feel needed.

  17. What a wonderful story! Maybe you should have kept Panda and given Spoiled and Selfish to the flower lady.
    What ARE monkey dishes.

  18. I keep reminding myself that things do work out. Just not the way you necessarily hope for or expect.

    Also, aren't cooks just fucking insane? I've worked in 1/2 a dozen restaurants and I never met one who wasn't a megalomaniac crazy person.

  19. I could use a backscratch about now. Sounds like GWW could too.

  20. Yup, they do. Sometimes they take a while, but eventually it ends up okay, one way or another, sometimes in ways you wouldn't every have expected.

    I like this post.

  21. a home's not much of a home w/o a dog...

  22. I am a weepy, delicate flower today, and this just sent me to more weeping, but GOOD weeping, because things do have a way of working, and they will for you, Suzy.

  23. I loved this post so much.. finally reading my favorite blogs again... LORD. can you say long time no comment..

    Where did you live? I lived on 88th and York, when I lived in NYC in the 90's!