Okay, are you ready for this one. It's a good one. And it's one of the reasons that my silly little life absolutely fascinates me.
I live on a street that is about a quarter of a mile past a three block long commercial area. We have a great corner store. A terrific little market. A bar. Another great corner store. At least three banks. A Chinese restaurant. A Latin coffee shop. A soon to be opened Japanese takeout joint.
And a pizza place.
If you are from the Y.O. you will understand the nuance of a "pizza place". It's not a pizza shop. Or a restaurant. It's not a store. It's a pizza place and it really is just that simple. It's a place where you go for pizza.
When I was a kid, the pizza place was owned by a family name Triarsi. I think that's how you spell it. The whole family worked there. Two sons and a daughter. The mother and father. And a sort of random guy named Patsy. Mrs. Triarsi was one of the prettiest women I've ever seen. She had a look that my family refers to as "La Strega"--the witch. Olive skin, black hair and blue eyes. She was gorgeous and she was nice. They were all nice. And for a buck you got two slices (on wax paper thank you very much) and an RC Cola.
Eventually Patsy took the place over. There was fire. There was a move. There was another move. There was a change of ownership and for years and years now, it's been owned by a guy named Frankie.
Frankie is what we lovingly refer to as "a character". He wears his shirt open to his waist and clearly uses Pantene on his chest hair. His hair is a dramatic dyed pompadour (there is a whole school of thought that it's a wig). He wears a big gold medallion and shockingly sculpted facial hair. He wears white patent leather shoes with a Cuban heel. He makes a killer pie, great meatballs and a pasta with garlic, sausage and broccoli that makes you believe in true love. He calls everyone sweetheart.
You know this is leading to something don't you?
I had a shitball of a day today. Utter chaos would have been a walk in the park. I had to go back to work (again) at 8:15 to talk to our night shift and dry a lot of tears. I finally headed home around 9:30 (ish) and had a text from Pat (of the tomatoes). Perfect. I was going to stop at the pizza place and grab a chicken parm wedge for HandyMan and Pat lives right around the corner so she agreed to meet me for one glass of wine.
As I parked the car and headed over to the pizza place, I couldn't believe that yet another wall of shit had fallen on me. The pizza place was closed. All the lights were off. I was hungry. I knew my honey was hungry. And goddammit the pizza place was closed.
But the door was open. So I poked my head in and said "Hey--Frankie! What? Suddenly you're working bankers hours?" Long story short, the stove was still lit and the oven was still on and 15 minutes later, I walked out with my sandwich and a pizza.
But here's where it gets good. He wouldn't let me pay for it. In his words, "It's the end of the night sweetheart. You're a good customer. If I can't feed you, I can't feed anyone."
I actually had tears in my eyes. I started to say "Frankie, today was awful and you just turned the whole miserable mess around for me." All I got out was "Frankie, today was awful." He cut me short and said "Not anymore."