Snapshots of a… Crazy Kinda Life

The Misadventures of Messie Jessie

Reason #127 why I love this city October 22, 2008

Filed under: All about me — Messie Jessie @ 11:09 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Yesterday I was walking home from work, feeling the encroaching cold air brush upon my already rosy cheeks. I was lost in my own thoughts, which were wafting between the crap I had to deal with during my 9+ hour day at work, my tedious plans for my evening and Xavier Rudd on my headphones. I wouldn’t say I was in a “bad mood” per se, but I definitely wasn’t cheerful. 

I was briskly walking past the various shoppes and stores on The Avenue, when an older gentleman caught my attention. He was standing in the doorway of a cafe, motioning for someone to come. As I watched him look in my general direction, I thought to myself, “Is motioning to me? No, that’s impossible. I barely know anyone in this town.”

As my gait slowed, I felt certain that he was, in fact, beckoning for me to come over to him. I looked around, saw no one in my proximity and finally pointed my finger at my chest and mouthed “me”? He nodded his head yes in response and called, “Come on in and have an espresso on the house!”

Obligingly, I walked into the cafe and looked around. It was a small, but relatively classy looking joint. Inside were about 6 middle aged, typical South Philly men (i.e. italian-american). I had to admit, it was a bit odd to see these kind of guys sitting around in a quasi-posh establishment such as this, but I didn’t want to make assumptions. The man requested an espresso for me, and invited me to join them. 

In a feeble attempt to stave off a case of the “weirded-outs”, I asked “so what made you seek me out and invite me in like that?”

Another gentleman answered. “We see you walk past everyday, and we were curious, so we invited you to come in so we could meet you.”

I was still a bit uncomfortable, but I rolled with the punches and engaged in small talk. The men introduced themselves, and confirming my stereotypical assumptions about their heritage, told me their names were Anthony, Mario, Franco, Tony, and the like. Anthony told me that he was the man who smiled at me on the street yesterday, questioning if I remembered. I said I did, which was technically a lie, but later I did vaguely remember someone in passing giving me a friendly glance in that general vicinity. 

When my espresso was ready, I admitted I had never had one. They were more than happy to give me a lesson on how best to prepare and enjoy my beverage. Slowly I became more comfortable, and engaged in a discussion on -what else- politics. Since I was unfamiliar with my company, I never revealed my candidate of choice, but a few noted they were pretty sure they knew who I supported. We all argued points and passed judgements. It was a good time.

At one point Mario (who was the man who flagged me down) pulled me aside and asked, “when’s the last time a stranger invited you off the street to join them for a drink?”

I had to stop and think for a second, then answered, “well… never, actually”! Mario and I exchanged a smile.

After about a half an hour passed, I told them that I had to be going, and thanked them for the espresso. They invited me to come back to watch the Phillies in the World Series, or any other time I ever wanted. I promised that I would indeed come back again. I even made a point to remember all their names, or at least as many as I could- their numbers continued to grow as the time passed.

When I walked back out into the chilly air, it somehow felt more refreshing than intruding. I continued to walk home, now with a spring in my step- partially due to the espresso, but mostly just because that absolutely was one of the most outstanding things to happen in a long time.

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6 Responses to “Reason #127 why I love this city”

  1. carissa Says:

    wow thats very nice of them, i think its a rare thing these days for people to even care about other people. although i would be a little creeped out at first never the less, it was a very wonderful thing that they did

  2. Melissa Says:

    Amazing! Sounds like a great time, only you Jess! Well maybe me too, im jealous! lol

  3. Mommy G Says:

    Hey Jess,

    I think you got it. I mean the answer to the “sticky” question of what your blog should be about. You can name it, but it could be, “My love affair with Philly” or the neighborhood, etc.

    My favorite entry still is the one you wrote when describing a bike ride at night through the streets, wind in your hair. It touched me and made me feel like I was there, part of the scene.

    Also, is that shop around the corner from you??? Remember when we helped you move to Philly and you were too busy to explore the new neighborhood with us? I have a feeling that we went into the friendly establishment you are speaking of in this blog….We enjoyed ice cream and friendly converstation while sitting at an old-time counter. I told them that my daughter just moved into the neighborhood. They said that sooner or later everyone comes in. Maybe you just needed an invitation.

    Love you kiddo. Love you loving Philly.
    (And, I hate to say it, but since the Dodgers and Red Sox let me down, “GO PHILLIES!”) 🙂

  4. No mom, it is not the same place.
    And I still have not gone to the one you are referring to. I think I might still be too busy to go to these places, and thats another reason why it’s nice for someone to invite you in!

  5. Melissa Says:

    Blog Hijack – When can we go visit your mom? That was one of the nicest times we spent together!!! My spider plant still looks great, thanks again Momma G!

  6. Last I spoke to her she said she MIGHT come visit the second weekend of Nov. She’s wanted to come visit again for a while now. Depends mostly on my grandmother, because of her health.

    She also might bring Rice-cakes with her for me. Don’t think you heard, but Fer got hit by a car. Very sad.

    I wish your twin spider plant (my plant) was doing as well… what’s your secret? You know the original plant belonged to my great grandmother or something. You got a little piece of my personal lineage there, lil lady!

    Wow, this comment thread has gone waaay off topic- But that’s just my style!


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