August 16, 2004

NY -- where everyone gets along and no one minds their own business

This was from today's Metropolitan Diary in the NY Times:

One recent afternoon, I was waiting in line at the silver counter at Tiffany. A woman ahead of me had just purchased a bracelet and was filling out a gift card. She looked up and asked the salesclerk, "How do you spell 'bar mitzvah'?" The salesclerk didn't hear her. I intervened.

"Bar mitzvah?" I asked.

She smiled and nodded.

"Didn't you buy a bracelet?" I asked.

"Why, yes I did," she answered.

"So it's for a girl?"

"That's correct," she said.

I explained: "Well, bar mitzvah is for a boy. Bas mitzvah is for a girl. So you should say 'Happy bas mitzvah.' " She thanked me, then I asked, "Do you know if they are Sephardic or Ashkenazic?"

Her face dropped. "Oh my, I have no idea. Does it matter?" she asked.

I replied: "No, not for the purpose of a gift. But if they are Ashkenazic, it's bas mitzvah, Sephardic is bat mitzvah."

"So how do I spell it?" she asked. I told her. She smiled and said: "I'm visiting from Milwaukee. Thank you for all this information, it's so interesting." She looked a bit sheepish and said, "I don't know any of this; I'm a Catholic."

I said, "So am I."

Surprised, she asked, "My goodness, how do you know all this information?"

I responded matter-of-factly, "I live here."

Brian Honan

Posted by Random Penseur at August 16, 2004 08:03 AM

LOL! That's too funny!

Posted by: Rachel Ann at August 16, 2004 08:48 AM

I heart NY!!!!!

Posted by: Wicked H at August 16, 2004 09:25 AM

NY is such a small place, where we're all squished together, that you can't help but learn a lot about other people.

Posted by: RP at August 16, 2004 10:58 AM

That's wonderful!

Posted by: Mick at August 16, 2004 11:04 AM

How can you not love this city? Metropolitan Diary and the crossword puzzles are definitely among the NYT's best features. Thanks for sharing this little gem with us, RP!

Posted by: GrammarQueen at August 16, 2004 04:29 PM

Glad you all enjoyed this one!

Posted by: RP at August 16, 2004 05:06 PM


Posted by: Jester at August 17, 2004 12:48 AM

I have a friend in New York of the same name as this writer, who is also Catholic, who writes and speaks in this very same type of way...yet he denies writing the piece, though I could have sworn that it was him! He thinks he must have a twin or something now in the city! Thank you for posting this.

Posted by: MP at September 22, 2004 02:44 PM

Nice!! I love this, and am coming to love my new home here in NY..... I see this spirit reflected everywhere.

Posted by: indigo at October 26, 2004 05:03 PM
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