Today, I had a conversation with a man at the bagel shop on 24th street in Noe Valley. I was in line waiting for the lady to complete my bagel. I ordered an everything bagel, not toasted, with Swiss cheese, lettuce, and mustard. This has nothing to do with the story, but I figured I’d let everyone know just incase any of you are ever in the Bay Area and you want to buy me a sandwich. There was a man standing next to me. I guess he was from the Middle East. But I couldn’t really tell just by looking at him. He was waiting on a roast beef sandwich. He was wearing a button down shirt, a pair of blue jeans. He was handsome and very well dressed. I guessed he was probably gay. But I couldn’t tell just by looking at him. And he had a wee bit of facial hair dripping off the bottom of his chin. If you see him one day, he’d probably like a roast beef sandwich. And I guessed he wasn’t Hindu. But I didn’t know this just by looking at him.

Earlier today I had a meeting with a once potential, now existing client. I had my snack-sized portfolio case with me instead of the monster-sized one. My monster-sized case is very difficult to carry around for an individual on foot. And since I knew exactly what this client was looking for, and they had already seen my work online, I packed only the necessary pieces and they all fit within my snack-sized case. My snack-size case looks like this:

The same case shown above housed the cds Toby and I asked the people who came to our post-wedding/going away party to make us for our drive across America. The case holds a plethora of good times. But one wouldn’t know that just by looking at it.

As the woman was tossing some mustard onto my everything bagel, I noticed my Middle Eastern friend was staring at me. It’s a good thing my meeting went so well, because any other day of the week I may have drop kicked the bastard for staring so much. But you might not know that just by looking at me.

He just stared.

Is that a breifcase?

He looked down towards my feet where my portfolio sat. He was smiling. He was friendly (but I didn’t know this just by looking at him.)

Heh. No. It’s a portfolio. Someone in the coffee shop next door asked me if I was carrying around gold bars. I don’t have any gold bars in here.

It does sort of look like that, doesn’t it?

No stacks of money either. Someone asked me if there were stacks of money as well. No money. Just design work.

Too bad there is no money in there. You could buy me a bagel.

I laughed.

My husband told me I should wear a pair of handcuffs and lock myself to it for my next interview. He thought that’d be really funny.

He laughed.

Yeah, that’s probably not very funny anymore, eh? If I were to do that right now, security would be called, I’d be put in a headlock and deported. I mean, look at me?

He made a sweeping gesture with his hand.

I suddenly realized how he took our joke to be. When Toby first suggested this to me, I had pictured diamonds and money drop-offs, not bombs and deportation.

Oh goodness! Not that kind of a funny joke! It’s a diamond drop off sort of thing, you know? Diamonds are funny. I mean, considering they’re still dropped off this way. And I guess they’d think I take my design work real serious and all. You know? That kind of funny. No bombs.

That is funny. I knew what you meant. I’m just saying…Ashcroft would be phoned up… I’d be done. My days in the U.S would be over.

Yeah, it’s probably not all funny. That’s probably why I won’t ever do it. That’s probably why you shouldn’t do it either. I’d probably get shot. And you’d get deported. It wouldn’t be much of a Thursday.

The lady behind the counter asked me if I’d like anything else. I said no and paid for my sandwich. The middle eastern guy was asking them to go lighter on the mayo. For some reason, this shop doesn’t know what “easy” or “light” means. They often pile it on (but you wouldn’t know this just by looking at them.)

Have a wonderful day, sir. We should make things funny again.

I waved my hand in air. He wished me good luck. I picked up my case and left the store. Once outside, I noticed I was grinning from ear to ear. I really should have bought that Middle Eastern man a bagel.

Two years ago, if you had told my very serious, fearful self that one day I’d be living in San Francisco and on a Thursday morning in early September, after having been evacuated by NOT one but TWO MUNI trains that directly following said event I’d find myself in a bagel shop, laughing over a conversation with a middle eastern man about briefcases, diamonds and bombs, I’d have had you committed.

I have moved a long way from fear over the past couple of years. But you wouldn’t know this just by looking at me. wouldn’t know this just by looking at me.)


  1. this goes down as being one of my favorite mihow posts


  2. You’re sweet as pie.


  3. This one sings with Native Talent, mihow!
    In four part harmony.


  4. I WANT BAGELS!!! i haven’t had one in over 7 months!!! OMG – how bad do i want a bagel! i’m hungry!


  5. This was the coolest post- what a great conversation. I love when that happens, though it is few and far between for sure.


  6. I really enjoyed that story. (but you wouldn’t know this just by looking at me.)


  7. A bagel would be awesome right now indeed. I can’t seem to leave the house yet today, tho. hmmmmmm


  8. I want to see a poster that says, “Bagels for a more peaceful America”


  9. Let me see what I can do for you, my young canadian friend.


  10. brilliant!

    someone better hire this woman


  11. That is awesome. Might I add: cream cheese brings us all closer together.


  12. i am going to start reading this regularly, michele. what do you think about THAT huh?


  13. I wish chandler would post today as well. ;]


  14. yum.

    stupid half-assed low carb diet.


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