>Humanity: The Anti-Loneliness Cure

>I waited in line at the famous Ottomanelli butcher today for my fresh Thanksgiving turkey. One waits in a long line, and while you wait, you scan the butcher paper to find your name. I found mine just as I was called up to the counter; # 225. I know the butcher, Pete, and his brothers, Mike and Joe. They have fed me on a regular basis since I lived in the Village when I first moved to NYC after college, and I have continued to find my familial feast food from them for nearly four decades. I am sure they believe they are partially responsible for my healthy children as they plied me with chicken livers, or tiny roasts and pork shops ready for stuffing.

While Pete was asking me if I had the bike and needed him to carry the 29 pound bird or to heft it into my bike basket, the man next to me, a rather nice looking regular grown up with a slight “other” accent realized he had left his wallet and had only 28 bucks in his pocket.

“Oh I can loan you the money,” I piped up, “and you can mail me a check.”

Pete said, “Do you know him?”

“Well no, but if you can’t loan neighbors money at this time of year, we are all lost, right?”

I gave the guy 30 bucks, he took my business card and told me his name was Alex and that he worked in some real estate office on Hudson Street, did I want to follow him to his office to get the loan?

I didn’t.

I wanted to go and get the rest of the stuff on my list and then hunker and read or write and polish silver and see if I might even craft an introduction to the book I am writing about finances for artists. Lots on my list, even more extra-imagined things I could do as no one is home. It is just me until tomorrow, when my husband comes trundling in with our son, back from college.

After I enlisted the help of some random man on my block to hoist my bike with turkey and sausage and sundries, too heavy for me to struggle onto the loading dock, (see one good turn deserves another) well, once finally inside and my old bike unburdened, I made a sandwich and sat down to read the seemingly depressing New York Magazine article on “Loneliness.” Instead my own interaction seems to be the norm in my City. People do reach out, they make puttering and helping and bumping into an art form. It seems in general people are less lonely in cities because of all the random interactions. I was my own little test case. And while I do hope Alex sends me my three tens, I also hope that whoever overheard us, will be emboldened to give the next loan or whatever other kindness they care to share.

A tiny gesture to begin a season of more simple pleasures in this time of recession.

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