We are going to eat at the Brooklyn Tap House, but when we enter, we find it full of people. There is a football game on. The bouncer asks to see our ids. We tell him that we’re not staying.
Standing outside, I convince Musette to let us go into one of the local delis. The one that we go into is one that we’ve been in before. We’d been looking for e-liquid. They had had what we were looking for, but it had been marked in such a way that made it hard for us to know its nicotine content. We had taken forever deciding whether or not to buy it, going back and forth with the owner, and looking up information on our phones. In the end we had decided not to buy it.
While we were in there, I had noticed their impressive sandwich making set up. Having experience now with ordering from these corner store delis from the time when I had gotten a chicken cutlet from the deli across from my work, I figure that I am now ready to unlock this food source.
I approach the counter, and Musette vanishes. The man working there is Ukrainian or something. I tell him that I would like two sandwiches, one a chicken cutlet and the other a peppered turkey, both of them on heroes.
He asks me what kind of cheese I want, and I panic. The last deli didn’t ask me this. The names of cheeses escape me. The only one that comes to mind is swiss. I ask for that on the chicken cutlet.
On the turkey, I tell him, I want pastrami.
He’s like, you want pastrami?
And I’m like, oh God, no, I didn’t mean to say pastrami, I can’t remember… I’m panicking.
The owner comes over and is like, what’s going on?
I tell him that I’m trying to remember the name of a cheese, a white cheese. I can’t remember what it is. I said pastrami, but that was so dumb of me. Of course I know that pastrami is a meat. I know that this isn’t Subway, so I don’t think that I can just tell you that I want white American, which is what I am obviously, a white American. That’s why I’m so bad at this and why I’m acting so weird right now. I’m bourgeoisie. This is only my second time doing this. I’m not from here. I’m from Utah, the suburbs. Can you just please tell me what the white cheeses are?
He says Provolone, and I’m like, that’s it. Provolone. It sounds like pastrami. You can understand my mistake, right?
Please just give me Provolone on the peppered turkey, I tell the sandwich maker.
He starts making the sandwiches. The owner goes back to the register. I leave the counter in search of Musette. She’s standing in front of the soda cans.
Did you hear all that, I ask.
She tells me that she did, but that it’s okay.
Don’t worry about it, she says. It wasn’t all that weird. There are a lot of weirdos in New York. You’re acting normal in comparison.
The sandwich maker finishes making our sandwiches. We take them to the counter, pay the owner, and leave the deli. I hold the bag dangling from my right hand as we walk home.