For the last longest, I have been craving pizza. But craving it. Every time I think about what I want for lunch, the first response my stomach has is, “PIZZA!!!”
Now, I’m all about demand feeding — giving my body what it wants when it wants it — but I also know that I’ll feel like crap if I have pizza for lunch (and dinner … and then again for breakfast) every day. All pizza and all pizza will definitely make Stacie a dull girl. So I do some negotiating with my stomach, and there is usually a good second option (“Oh, we haven’t been the salad place in a few days,” or “Oh, what about that little brie sandwich they make at Takahachi?”), so I can get past the pizza-pizza lust.
On the days when there is no secondary option and only pizza will do, I walk down the block. There are a bunch of pizza places in my work neighborhood (I wish the same could be said of my home neighborhood). And most of them are okay. Okay enough. But only one of them is really, truly good, and that’s the one on the corner from my job (I really wish the same could be said of my home neighborhood!).
Their plain pizza is good, and I like their white pies. The answer, though, when my stomach is talking, is their fresh mozzarella pizza. It is exactly right. It’s the quality of the cheese, the super-fresh tomato sauce they use, the sprinkling of strips of basil leaves added after the pie is out of the oven. Exactly right.
Yesterday was a must-have-pizza day. When I got to the corner, the place was packed. It’s always busy, as I am not the only one who knows what good pizza they make, but yesterday, there was barely room to get up to the counter to place my order. And the little corner in the back where I can sit and enjoy my lunch and whatever book I’m reading and not be jostled by the world that passes through the shop? Taken. Sad story. And when I finally get to the counter and look for the fresh mozzarella? None. Even sadder story.
But the pizza man has me. “Can you wait 12 minutes?” he asks. “I’ll make you one right now.”
I might have fallen in love just then. Not because patience will net me two slices of my favorite pie — or not only that — but because the pizza man (whose name I’m going to have to learn) recognizes me and knows what I want without having to ask. I am a regular!
This is the kind of little thing about living in a city that I love. I have it at my morning bagel place, at the place I stop for tea after physical therapy, at my pharmacy, even with the guy who hands out the free AM New York papers by my subway. It’s a little thing, but it a grounding thing, a thing that’s like a little chuck under the chin and a, “Hey. You belong here.”
I agree to the 12 minutes, I get my slices, I take them back to my desk … and all is right with the world. PIZZA!
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