The New York Times’ “Metropolitan Diary” describes random incidents in the city. It’s the Big Apple equivalent of “06880”: anything is game, so long as it happened within the boundaries of the city (or, for this blog, town).
Today’s “Metropolitan Diary” is a double-dipper.
The story comes from a Westporter. Catherine Onyemelukwe writes about needing an eyebrow pencil at Bloomingdale’s. She’s helped by a petite black woman.
Eventually, Catherine asks where the saleswoman is from. When she says “Nigeria,” Catherine asks, “What tribe?”
The story continues:
This wasn’t a question she expected from a white woman. “Ibo.”
“I na su Ibo? Do you speak Ibo?” I said.
“Oh my God,” she said to the saleswoman beside her. “She speaks Ibo.”
She turned back. “Why, how … are you married to an Ibo man?”
“Yes,” I said.
She drew me away from the cash register and said: “I just took my children to Nigeria for the first time. They loved it. Everyone was so warm and welcoming. It was different from the U.S.”
“I know,” I said. “You remind me of the sense of belonging I felt in Nigeria for so many years.”
She had a customer waiting. I bought the eyebrow pencil and the shiny box of perfume and cream. “Please come back. You don’t have to buy anything,” she said as she double-bagged my purchases.
“I will,” I promised.