The Shtetl/Ghetto Seasonal Visitor/Resident

After two and a half years experiencing a reclusive existence as a shut-in, I have almost a year under my belt of going out daily. That’s because I’ve now three (3) rare neurological diseases that are untreatable, incurable and permanent.

The lucky part is that two (2) diseases can be slightly contained by taking huge doses of drugs, especially to help out my hyperacusis where all sound is my enemy. My therapist, the one who doles out the drugs, urges me to spend every day outside the house. Even my neurotologist supports this. To build up my tolerance towards sound.

Well, that ain’t working.

First off, I live in a small town. Second, I go to my friend’s bakery where she has internet, a bathroom and a nice array of sandwiches, quiches, soups and savory pies. It’s also mostly quiet there.

Until now. ‘Cause it’s summertime and this is a resort area for the shtetl/ghetto cidiots.

I can say this freely because I used to be one of them. Until I crossed over.


They can tell I’m no longer a shtetl/ghetto cidiot. It could be a scent I emit - pheromenal. Or perhaps the fact I wear pjs in this heat, fitting right in with the Walmart crowd.

While seated at a table in front of my laptop where I intermittently peek at gay German porn to stave off napping, I tend to overhear the conversations at the counter and attribute my ability to hear due to these reasons:

  • I’m three feet away with my good ear facing the counter;
  • The motherfuckers are loud as hell, shouting their orders. The only thing missing is hammering their demands with the heels of their shoes on the counters (you can tell I’m a child of the 60’s); and
  • The tonal quality of these voices burrow through my brain and nestle alongside my diseases.

There’s no pleasing the cidiots - no matter what, they’re chronically disappointed. They all express it with a massive tsk followed by an exhale of disdain, an air grunt they emit like the passing of gas while rolling their eyes up to the heavens.

Should I record that tsk and subsequent grunt, it would make a wonderful background loop for a rap song about people who have money, education and a good life. The only thing they lack is - - -


One thing is evident by the way people react in an artisan bakery: celiac disease has taken over the tri-boroughs as well as Westchester, Rockland County, Long Island, New Jersey suburbs and certain villages in Connecticut! Since the floodgates to summer opened, this is what I have heard scores of time when I innocently sat at the bakery minding my business sexually chatting it up with internet men:


In wake of this potential pandemic, I alerted the National Institute of Health that the Jewish/Italian communities must have a rare DNA that won’t allow them to process gluten. It’s a tragedy, all right.

I pity my friend who has to stand impassively while insults are hurled at her for not producing specialized products in a snap. People have come in and said:

"I’m allergic to eggs, butter, wheat and sugar. What do you have for me?”

From my table, I shouted, “Go to the gas station up the street. I’m sure they have things for you to eat.”

These are other things I overheard, even with a cotton wad stuck in my deaf ear for a week (I didn’t feel a thing and had to go to the hospital to remove it):

“Do you sell beer?”

“Do you have something sugar free? No? What good are you?”

“Why don’t you sell cakes?” {It’s an artisan bakery, that’s why!}

“You don’t sell Entenmann’s?” {Talk about insult!}

“Was this made in the last hour?” {As if the bakeries in the City make FRESH stuff by 5pm.}

“What kind of place is this? I’m here now, how can you be SOLD OUT of _____{fill in the blank}?”

“I would like a toasted bagel with the inside scooped out, scrambled egg whites, crispy bacon, lettuce and tomato with slivers of red onion. Don’t forget the mayo and ketchup and extra mayo on the side... what do you mean I have to pay extra? You mean this is not a restaurant?” PS: Those people RARELY LEAVE TIPS!

From an 11-year old child: “I want fresh mozzarella with balsamic vinaigrette... what? You don’t serve that???? What kind of place is this????” {I’ll sidestep the entire topic of spoiled kids.}

“I want two dozen of your special breakfast sandwiches and no, I do NOT want to leave a tip... Why does it take so long to make?” {Note: this is not a restaurant!}

Now I know why I can’t do customer service - I’d bludgeon these people to death. However, there are customers who are very demanding and, at the same time, wonderful repeat customers who show respect. They are rarely disappointed and relish the food they get. And, they tip!

These are the relative newcomers to this area as seasonal homeowners with thick accents from Russia and its former satellites. Sitting among them, I got to know them and found they are lovely, intelligent and CLASSY people.

Besides, they don’t mind my pjs.

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