Yesterday was Michael’s birthday, so I drove into the city, picked him up, and we had lunch with Rachel and Riley in Park Slope. Parking is always a challenge so we were happy to find a spot a good walk to Rachel’s apartment but, as it turns out, a great place for a couple of random meetings. After a lovely lunch at which the waitress accommodated us with a picture (apologies to Rachel for the absolutely awful angle), taking Riley to the swings, and spending time together, Michael and I started our walk back to 4th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues. On the way to the car, we bought a plastic swimming pool for Riley to use when she comes to visit the Poconos. I have been looking for months for a plastic pool and could only find inflatable ones so I was happy to see plastic pools out on the street in front of a very very small toy store on 5th Avenue in Park Slope. With Michael carrying it, we set off up 4th Street to the car.
Soon after turning the corner, a construction worker popped out of the street where he was working on a sewer line (at least that’s what it looked like). His hard hat covered head was then level with the sidewalk and he yelled, “Wait! I have to ask you a question.” As if this was perfectly reasonable, we stopped and he said, “Where did you get that plastic pool? I’ve been looking all over for one.” Michael gave him directions to the store around the corner and we headed up (it is on a slope after all) to the car. As Michael wrangled the pool into the back of the car (it was much larger than it looked when it was on the sidewalk), a car pulled up and the man asked, “Are you by any chance leaving?” This happens often when you pull out of a parking place but when I said “yes, just as soon as we can get this in the car,” he was so delighted! He said, “It IS my lucky day! It’s my birthday and because of that I got this great spot. I’m 66 today!” Michael replied, “It’s my birthday too!” The 66-year-old-man decided that it was fated that he get this spot because he was going to buy books and pulled up closer. He and Michael shook hands congratulating each other on their birthdays. We eventually pulled out, waved good bye to the man and he took the spot and then went to Barnes & Noble nearby, absolutely thrilled with his parking place that had special meaning.
It was such a lovely end to our time in Park Slope and it was very much a New York/Brooklyn experience. Funny how we took it all in stride, but when I was driving back home, I thought about how pleasant it was and how these odd little things really make you think. What were the odds of the person wanting our parking space to have the same birthday as Michael? When the construction worker popped up from beneath the street, he had the same problem I did finding an old-timey plastic kiddie pool. It was like something you would see in a movie and laugh. Only in New York for sure and I’ll add this to my collection of things that make me appreciate people I meet in unusual situations. What a fine day!