I was rushing down Graham Ave today, doing my shop at the pork store, mozzarella store, pasta store. (It’s the kind of weather that calls for a meat ragu.) Bogged down with parcels, dressed in sweaty, schlubby workout gear, shuddering in the shitty cold wind, I rounded the corner to my house. And came face to face with one of the neighborhood old-timers who’s never acknowledged my existence in the 20 years I’ve lived here–not being Italian in East Williamsburg means I’ll always be dismissed as a Janey-Come-Lately. This time, though he stopped short. “You’re still pretty, honey,” he said. His consoling tone–that still–is cracking me up even now. Cuz, you know, he really was trying to be nice. P.S. The ragu turned out molto buono.