New York

There’s something about tomato ketchup, or Instant Karma.

This semester is in full throttle and weekends are dedicated to study, so I have taken to easing myself into them with breakfast in a place called  Community Food and Juice. I usually go along quite early and take along an article to read over my coffee so that I’m keeping the standard of the insane work ethic around here. CF & J is quite pricey –  I could eat handsomely for six bucks at Tom’s across the road –  but it feels trendy and bustling, and it’s become a treat to myself and a nod to the leisurely weekend I would like to have.

I went along on Sunday morning jet lagged after my flight back the night before. It was already filling up and the server took me to the long community table.  I wanted to take the end seat,  but a woman sitting opposite said that it belonged to her daughter, so I sat in the next one. As I picked up the menu I unconsciously put my bag down on it, and the woman said again in a bald on record sort of way,”That’s my daughter’s seat.”.  I know rationally that this kind of unhedged communication is not intended to be rude. Once on a bus coming back from Harlem I sat down with a large bag of shopping to hear a loud voice “Ouch that’s my bad knee!’ I leapt up apologetically, and the woman behind me said without rancour ” alright dear just get it off my knee”.  The directness is cultural rather then personal. But this woman’s neurotic attitude towards her daughter’s seat narked me slightly. After all, it is supposed to be a community kitchen.

The daughter turned up and waiter brought their food. I had just settled down to read the article over my coffee when all of a sudden a large dollop of tomato ketchup plopped onto A Generative Rhetoric of the Paragraph.  I looked up to see the woman covered in red blobs  – in her hair, under her eye, and on her smart blouse. She had shaken the posh ketchup bottle without checking whether the lid was screwed on. The poor soul had to apologise to me for messing up Francis Christensen and remove the organic ketchup from her person at the same time. No problem, I said, smilingly, and tucked into my truffled kitchen.

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