Last week I attended a retirement party for a woman who’s worked at the school where I do bulletins boards since the Reagan administration or something. Like pretty much every educational administrative assistant I’ve ever met, she liked to project a gruff and unyielding persona, covering up her sweet side to prevent people from bothering her unnecessarily, but really, she’s very nice. She used to live in the town where spent my uncomfortable adolescence, and always wanted to reminisce about this particular diner, which my mother told me has long since closed.
She recalled, rapturously, the sandwiches at this place, but my memories are quite different, and I only have one. I never actually ate there; there was a cheaper and better deli closer to my house, but one day, my friend the Vampire Bat took me there. We were in high school and she had a crush on a busboy who worked there. We went in around 3 pm, when there were few customers. The busboy apparently had a crush back, because he greeted her effusively, sat us at a table, and, at her request, brought us ice water, pickles, bread, and butter. No sooner had we laid in to our ill-gotten feast than the manager noticed that we were not paying customers, but freeloaders dirtying a table and distracting the busboy, and promptly threw us out. This was one of many establishments from which the Vampire Bat got us ejected when we were in high school.
To celebrate the AA’s retirement, I painstakingly crafted a paper pastrami sandwich on pumpernickel rye swirl with a Kosher dill pickle. She was appreciative. I’ll probably get this design in my RedBubble store.