Bourbon Cowboy

The adventures of an urbane bar-hopping transplant to New York.

My Photo
Location: New York, New York, United States

I'm a storyteller in the New York area who is a regular on NPR's "This American Life" and at shows around the city. Moved to New York in 2006 and am working on selling a memoir of my years as a greeting card writer, and (as a personal, noncommercial obsession) a nonfiction book called "How to Love God Without Being a Jerk." My agent is Adam Chromy at Artists and Artisans. If you came here after hearing about my book on "This American Life" and Googling my name, the "How to Love God" book itself isn't in print yet, and may not even see print in its current form (I'm focusing on humorous memoir), but here's a sample I've posted in case you're curious anyway: Sample How To Love God Introduction, Pt. 1 of 3. Or just look through the archives for September 18, 2007.) The book you should be expecting is the greeting card book, about which more information is pending. Keep checking back!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Duane Reade vs. My Needs

In an effort to save money (I’m not particularly desperate, but save now, worry less later, you know), I bought the fixings for that staple of poor college students, the tortilla: rice, tomatoes, refried beans, etc. Only I discovered that, in my hasty packing, I’d forgotten to bring a can opener. And none of my roommates (I have three) seem to have one—or if they do, it’s not in the main kitchen area.

It’s humiliating to own actual food that you cannot access. So two days ago, after a disastrous misadventure with the subway (where I found myself on 4th Street instead of 23rd like I’d planned, only it was midnight and this forced cancellation of my earlier plans), I also found myself across the street from a 24-hour Duane Reade pharmacy—a common sight in Manhattan.

Well, what the hell, I thought. I’d just spent an hour getting from my home out to this place. I don’t want to just turn around empty handed. Maybe they have a can opener! And so I went shopping. I should mention, by the way, that I also forgot to bring plates, utensils, and any cups bigger than a shot glass. (I have four of those, so if I fill them all and then go back for seconds, it’s like I’ve just finished a real adult drink.) So I thought, while I was there, I should check for that sort of thing as well.

So allow me to report that this Duane Reade, despite having two levels and ceiling-mounted displays to maximize space, had no cups, no plates, no utensils, and no can opener. What they had instead were shower curatain rings, baby teething beads, needle-nosed pliers, a twenty-four-hour lamp timer, disks of Clip Art software, and—I feel silly pointing this out—a whole lot of canned food, which I guess you’re supposed to open through ESP and erosion.

Still I’m glad I went. If I ever wake up at night and think, “Holy shit! It’s three in the morning and I desperately need a breast pump!”, now I know where to go.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

If it helps to know, you went to one of the more surreal Duane Reades in town. But also, it’s that market effect of places stocking what the locals need and want—which in the Village means baby teething beads, needle-nosed pliers, a twenty-four-hour lamp timer, disks of Clip Art software, and breast pumps. (Ain’t gentrification grand?)

3/05/2006 9:54 PM  
Blogger Cowboy Dave Dickerson said...

That really is strange. It also suggests that if you want to know a neighborhood, you might best be served by looking at the nearest drug store. Bars on the windows? Multiple versions of temazepam? English-Romanian phrase books? Everything could be a clue! It's a bit like learning about a friend by skimming through their CD collection.

3/06/2006 12:06 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home