New Yorkers will recognize this kind of relationship. It’s with someone that you see frequently in your local bodega/corner store or on the subway on the way to work or walking on your block. Eventually you start to acknowledge each other, smile and nod and maybe even begin to say “Hello”. This may go on for years. It’s these kinds of relationships that make living in a city where people move on foot and are out an about in their neighborhoods a lot so great. I estimate that I have about 20 of these relationships at any one time.
Occasionally, these relationships actually move past the “hello, how are you doing” phase.
This happened to me and a neighbor just this week. For nearly 15 years we’ve been just street friendly with each other. We never exchanged names. But even so, each of us watched the other’s kids grow from toddlers to young adults, their dogs come and go, and the other age, too. While I was out waiting patiently on the sidewalk with our very elderly French Bulldog Lily a couple of days ago, the person who soon became known to me as Michelle slowed down as she passed by. We exchanged hellos, how’d the summer go, and how are the dogs. And then I said, “It’s about time we knew each others’ names. My name is Jehv. What’s yours?” Then came a flood of family names (husband, kids, dogs, etc.).
I’m telling this story because during our conversation I found out that Michelle is a costume designer. Coincidentally, we know someone in common. And she discovered that I own Manhattan Fruitier. Her reaction, “Oh my god! I’ve been a Manhattan Fruitier customer since the 1980s.I love your stuff.”
What a great connection to make, and after all these years. As I often remark, New York City is a small town.