before going up to new rochelle for a catering gig, i stopped off in the dining concourse of grand central station. it's below the main concourse which you see in all the movies with its aptly named grand ceiling which seems to expand like the sky while still being indoors. it really is huge in there and fun to blend into the crowd of travelers each with their own life and destination. one hundred and seventeen different tracks come into grand central which means tons of activity and a very large food area to feed weary people along their way. i was not so weary, but i was hungry so i scoped out a few joints in this food court. one of them was a place called junior's. seemed like the kind of place that might just have refills. so i asked to be sure...but the answer was no. very disappointing.
i walked on for a bit to lodge my protest against junior's. the hostess was apologetic and because of that, after a few minutes of walking around looking at various food services, i went back, ordered a burger and a large coke. everything was quite tasty, including the coke. you know how you can get a coke at some places and it's a little too watery or there's not enough carbonation. this was a good coke.
then it happened. i didn't really see it unfold until it was too late. some businessman with a backpack was walking by my table. we were all cramped in there pretty tight which is the nature of dining in new york. i was so close to the next table that i couldn't help be hear the sad story of a woman talking about how her husband had walked out on her. he's getting married this weekend to the woman he was having the affair with. of course, the other thing about new york is that i'll never see her again and all i can do is say a prayer for her and her situation. but anyway, we were all in there pretty tight. so as the businessman with his backpack went by my table, a waiter was trying to get through, as well, from the other direction. so of course, the businessman swung sideways to let the waiter by which slammed his backpack into my coke...my precious, no refill, perfect syrup, perfect carbonation, iced, cup of coke...and it landed on my french fries and lap. another disappointment.
he was apologetic, of course. i didn't know what to say. for a moment i thought about how i'd seen other new yorkers respond in similar situations. usually i see tempers, flared arms and hands, raised voices, a scene, expectation of some kind of reparation, etc. the moment had passed and i missed my window of opportunity to get upset with someone and to demand a free lunch.
however, i did get a free refill.