My Own Little Metropolitan Diary

I keep a journal of amusing interactions—akin to the New York Times’s “Metropolitan Diary,” but less fit for print. They used to involve more writing—as in the first three installments, hither, thither, and yon—but now they’re mainly snippets of conversation. And the ones I’ve printed here used to be about the area, or at least the city, but that was then. N.B. Adam is my husband, and Howard was my pug.


Me: There are two heads of escarole in the bag.

Whole Foods cashier: Huh?

Me: Escarole is priced by the head, not by weight, so you should charge me for two heads.

Cashier: Green-leaf lettuce?

Me: What about it?

Cashier: Are you sure it’s not green-leaf lettuce?

Me: It’s escarole.

Cashier: Do you remember the price?

Me: No.

Cashier: [Looks at the list of produce codes.] I don’t see escarole under “Salads” so it must be green-leaf lettuce.

Me: Let me see that. Here it is, under “Greens.” The code is 9054.

Cashier: I learn something new every day from you people.


Mom: See all these emails? I never used to get them!

Me: They’re just spam. I can’t stop more from coming. All we can do is delete them.

Mom: They’re disgusting. Look at this one: “Watch the pussy explorer—”

Me: Please stop.


Dogwalker: You know, when Howard really needs to poop you can see it poking out of his anus. I was in the elevator just now and I was like, whoa. And then we got outside and he pooped right away.

Me: I’ll keep an eye on that.


Telemarketer: Hello, may I speak with Adam?

Me: Why?

Telemarketer: I’m calling from American Solar. You are eligible for a free consultation on ways you can save on your electricity bill.

Me: Oh, gosh, that’s too bad. We live underground!

Telemarketer: You live underground?

Me: It’s quite cozy.

Telemarketer: Do you have a roof?

Me: Not technically.

Telemarketer: [Pause.] Well, thank you for your time. Wait, do you have electricity?

Me: Of course we do! What do you think we are, moles?


Me: How was your fancy dinner I had Chipotle?

Adam: It was fine. [Pause.] I mean, it was just OK.


Talking to a Tribeca business owner for a Shopdogs post….

Me: I think I have a photo that works. So I’ll email you the questions.

Dog owner: Questions?

Me: Well, it’s really only one question: How do the dogs spend their day?

Dog owner: Masturbating?

Me: [Pause.] No, I said the dogs.


My friend Andrea: I brought you a gift. [Pulls two boxes from a bag.] It’s shaving cream and after-shave.

Me: Oh, good. When I saw that the brand is Ab Crew, I was afraid it was for my non-existent six-pack.

Andrea: No, it stands for “abnormal.”


Me: Hello?

Caller: Hello, I’m calling from Microsoft tech support. There’s a problem with your computer and—

Me: Oh, for Pete’s sake, do you think I’m an idiot?

Caller: Are you an idiot?

Me: What are you doing with your life? This is your one chance, and you’re spending your time trying to scam old people? You’re making extremely questionable choices. What does your mother think? Don’t you have people who care about you?

Caller: I love you.

Me: And that’s nice. But you need to figure out a better use for your life. You’re not being a force for good.

Caller: Do you love me?

Me: Less and less. This is over. Goodbye.

Caller: Do you love me?


Mom: Any big plans over the long weekend?

Me: Nothing much. No, wait, we had dinner with Michele last night, and her cousin came. She’s a celebrity!

Mom: Right.

Me: Really, she is! She was in [redacted] and people loved her in that. And she’s in [redacted], which is on TV now.

Mom: I haven’t watched that.

Me: OK, but she’s been in a ton of movies—I’m sure you’ve seen her many times.

Mom: She’s not really famous.

Me: She is a legitimate celebrity! I mean, I don’t care, but other people do. She gets recognized—she’s that famous.

Mom: Is she famous like Helen Mirren?

Me: Well, no.

Mom: I hope you said hi to Michele for me.


Previously in this series:
••• Part 1
••• Part 2
••• Part 3



  1. You could do an entire series on dealing with the scam calls.

    Setting: 7.30AM, as I’m getting the kids out the door. My parents are also visiting and just starting to wake up.

    Me: Hello?

    Caller: Hello, I’m calling from Microsoft tech support. There’s a problem with your computer and it’s sending us a message

    Me (at the top of my lungs): OH MY GOD!!! NO???? WHICH ONE???

    Caller: How many do you have?

    Me (literally screaming): I HAVE 10!!! YOU HAVE TO TELL ME WHICH ONE?????

    Caller: Um..


    Caller hangs up.

    My mom is now standing at my door, mildly panicked by all the screaming.

    The kids haven’t even batted an eye.

  2. A few (of hundreds) I’ve collected.

    Jay St. Guy on cell: “He has limited weapons but he uses them very well.”

    N. Moore. Young guy on cell: “I feel you’re gravitating toward assholes, when you have friends who are perfectly adequate.”

    Chambers St. Young mother to small child. “Oh, no. President Washington isn’t alive. He’s been dead for quite some time now.”

    Hudson: guy to friend: “Every year I look forward to summer, but then summer comes and, well, you know.”

    Greenwich St. Couple with baby: “We like your dog.”
    Couple with dog: “We like your baby.”
    Couple with baby: “Want to swap?”
    Couple with dog, “Maybe!”

    Harrison St. Guy to friends: “I AM into handcuffs, but not in THAT way.”

    Hudson St. Man to friend: “So let him sue me. It’s bullshit. I want my parts back.”

    Greenwich St. Man to friend. “It says I have 180 points on this receipt. What does that mean?” Friend: “Nothing.”

    7th Ave.: Woman on cell phone: “Your body is starting to distintegrate! You should see a specialist!”

    Hudson St. Child to mother: “Today when we were eating lunch the fish died, and nobody noticed.”

    Chambers St. Man to friend: “I was going to walk there, but I just tore my meniscus.”

    Staple St.: Older man to woman: “What I like about Tribeca is that it’s masculine, industrial and gritty; but they’ve feminized it with pastel paint and flowers.”

    Beach St. Woman to friend: “I’m getting that brain-dead feeling.”

    W. Broadway. Guy on cell: “You don’t HAVE the luxury of not having to deal with me.”

    Café in Tribeca. Woman to friend: “The doctor and his wife lived with a poverty mentality. Every night they shared a teabag after dinner, the wife dunked second. They spent their whole lives circling the block rather than garaging their car.”

    Standing in bank line, man to friend: “I was born in a little village, in a forest, in Iceland.”

    W. Broadway. Woman to friend: “You can tell who the tourists are. They actually stop and wait when the traffic light says Don’t Walk.”

    Hudson: Guy to friends: “The thing I love is that for a while flying saucers were made of metal.”