Written at 1AM in Syracuse NY…. post beer run across the street to the bodega (convienience store)
I love a good bodega. New York has the best. It’s true one stop shopping. I’ve never ventured into a bodega and NOT found what I’m looking for. It’s like fucking Mary Poppins’ purse in there.
I used to spend a lot time in Mexico as a child. In Mexico, the neighborhood bodega doesn’t have a name. It wasn’t like anyone said, “Go down to the ‘Quiki-stop-and-save’ (or some bullshit name) and get a loaf of bread.” Instead, these places usually were called by a first name. Sometimes but not always a female first name. “Take these empty coke bottles down to Maria’s and get new ones for dinner.” You would literally go down to Maria’s house and, if it was after hours, knock on the door. The bitch was either home or she wasn’t. You would walk into Maria’s converted living room and she would take your order from behind a makeshift counter. She always knew who you belonged to and she ALWAYS knew your family’s dirty laundry.
Maria was always kind of a bitch. I mean she had to be. For fuck’s sake she sold candy, beer and fireworks from the same little room while her husband sat watching futbol in his boxers within eye shot of everyone! Oh those fireworks… Remember when kids used to fold paper into triangles and kick fieldgoals with their fingers to another kid holding up finger goal posts? Maria would make the same paper triangles but she would fill them with gun powder and sell them to any kid weilding a peso or two. Many a telephone pole and mailbox felt the wrath of my pocket change.
The bodega is dying now, even in Mexico.
My last intimate experience with a bodega was while I was termporarly living in Queens NY. The owner was Guatemalan. He always knew what I needed even before I knew. The guy could whip up a tuna on toast with jalepenos and make it taste just like mom’s. I always bought a newspaper, even if I wasn’t going to read it. (Another thing I won’t let die.)
He never knew my name, but he always called me “primo.”