A Typical Summer Day in Astoria, New York

I get up, walk the dog. We’re out of coffee, so I get a bagel and iced coffee from the bodega.

I work. The FedEx guy stops by to drop off a letter for the upstairs neighbor. He remembers my name and makes another joke about how cool he thinks it is.

In the afternoon, I walk to the hair salon. My hairdresser has a thick Queens accent, sounding a lot like Peter’s wife on The Family Guy (they may be from Rhode Island but wow, it all sounds the same to me). So does everyone else in the salon, and I’m the only one not speaking Greeklish when I get a little angry or want to say something secretive.

I walk home. I work, listening to the gang of pre-teens who gather in front of our stoop before they go off to the park for the special fireworks show. Some of the kids are innocent and sweet, some are in the phase where they’re trying to one-up all their friends. I tell one of the loud ones to “keep it down please.” It works, he shuts up and apologizes.

I hear a “hello” and a knocking sound coming from the back part of the house, or maybe upstairs. I’m not sure. I choose to ignore it, since it’s not my front door, until Charlie has a near panic/bark attack. I get up from my office and see my landlord, Christos, peering into our back window. “Hello!” he says in his thick Greek accent, “come!”

So I walk back, curious and hoping it might be a unicorn or a puppy. He says “wait a minute,” and I look out the window — there’s a huge barbeque grill set up and a 12-pack of Coronas. A portly friend of his is manning the grill. Christos grabs a big wad of something wrapped in foil, and hands it to me.

“Oh, um, oh, thank you!” I say, inhaling the deep intoxicating smell of freshly grilled animal flesh.

I open it up. And gasp.

That's three sausages and four kabobs of meat.

Now I’m off to the grocery store to get pita bread, tomatoes and the ingredients for tzatziki sauce!

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