DON'T MESS WITH THE KNIFE LADY
Yesterday I packed my usual bag for work – wallet, cell phone, day planner, company ID and set of seven large knives wrapped in three dish towels. Another day another dollar.
Truth is I don’t usually carry large knives to work. Today was an exception. I was taking our kitchen knives to be professionally sharpened in the food mecca otherwise known as Chelsea Market.
I never thought much about knives until I met my culinary geek husband. Growing up in my household, knives were used for anything but food related tasks - opening impossible CD packaging, sawing through a cardboard box to make a fort or used to carve our Halloween pumpkins. It wasn’t until last Christmas did my childhood home receive it’s first real and sharp knife from E – the first knife in the history of our house that could potentially harm a toddler should they play with it.
When I first met E I was impressed by many things but one of them was his love for cooking. When he finally got over the embarrassment of the state of his bachelor pad and invited me over after MONTHS of dating (I started to be convinced he didn’t have a home) I used to love to watch him in the kitchen. The man didn’t have a shower curtain but boy could he chop like a mad man.
The other night when cooking diner E was complaining about our dull knives. Having passed a woman near work who had a little knife sharpening stand I thought as a surprise I’d bring our knives in and get them sharpened for him. For all you young cool people out there, this is what you have to look forward to when you are in your thirties. Sharpening each other’s knives.
So I brought the knives in and was terrified I’d be stopped on the subway or have my bags checked in the station. I couldn’t help but think as I was reading my New York Times – if I was packin’ seven steak knives and looked fairly ‘normal’ on the outside what were the others around me carrying? I didn’t want to know.
I made it to work and approached the lady at the knife stand who wore a little beret and was eating an avocado and cream cheese sandwich on whole grain bread at 9AM.
Knife Lady: Hello. Do you have some knives?
It sounded like a drug deal. She looked over my knives – a combo of E’s professional expensive ones and others I’d had from years before I knew him. She picked up E’s knives and made happy sounds while raising her eyebrows.
Knife Lady: Oh nice…one of my favs
Knife Lady: Also a good one yes…someone in the house likes to cook
Knife Lady: (picking up my two knives chuckling) Oh haha...these remind me of my college days...those meals I cringe about when I think back on...
I started to get slightly annoyed with the gypsy psychic reading knife lady. I was late for work and hoped she might move things along. We discussed a price and she said she would call me some time after lunch.
Later in the day I was trapped at my desk awaiting my call from the knife lady. A co-worker asked me to lunch and I couldn’t leave my desk merely saying, “I can’t. I’m waiting for my knives.”
Finally I decided to stop by her stand on the way out at the end of the day. There was a man not unlike the stereotype of a child molester standing at the knife stand talking to the gypsy knife sharpening lady. I approached the stand.
Knife Lady: Oh there you are
Me: Why? Did you call me?
Knife Lady: No. But here are your knives
ME: (?) Thanks.
I gave her the cash. The creepy man beside me gave over his cash as well.
Knife Lady: Oh goody. Now everyone has their knives
Creepy Man: We sure do! Now let’s just hope the police don’t stop me on my way out like they did last time!