Written in the third person.
It was their second evening in New York. The Indian man and the little boy scrutinized her basket. “You must be a tourist” he commented and she asked what gave her away. He told her that nobody else would be buying shampoo and flour from the small store. She watched him, unblinking. He seemed new here, like he didn’t belong, just like her, but also that he didn’t belong in the of tourist or traveler. If he stayed in New York he would learn that this was normal.
She didn’t belong in New York either, but 3 years of regular travel had left a mark. The skills to blend into a new place were there. This helped especially when trying to ward off pushy sales people. If your attitude could convince them you belonged there they wouldn’t bug you that much.
New York consists of many individual shops. You couldn’t buy everything you wanted from one place. The liquor store sold liquor. The cheese shop had cheese. The newsstand sold papers and cigarettes. There were many of these places, they were scattered across the city. The wine products available at convenience stores were not wine, merely a sweet drink containing some wine as an ingredient.
It felt like a little bit of a time waste, having to walk from one place to another. Yet this was New York, this was part of what made this great city so wonderful. Every store had a different vibe. The convenience store on the corner of 8/ 48 was acceptable, but the guy behind the counter communicated with grunts the entire month she shopped there. In contrast the store next door was so different.
Against the counter a gangly teenager stood, he had the cockiness of Joey Tribiani seeming confident enough to try his luck with this college student even though he was 16 years old. A few African American men sat discussing Melanie Trump’s disastrous speech. The atmosphere was relaxed, like they were regulars. After discussing the speech they started listing elegant first ladies. The verdict was Eleanor Roosevelt.
So it was with the other stores as well. The diners too, you could move from one to the other not actually changing the quality of your purchases, but the hedonic value definitely.