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The Early Bird Catches So Much More

Taking partial advice from Ben Franklin, I was early to rise the other morning and by 7:15 a.m. was out the door, armed with my To Do list.

“You’re out early,” said my doorman Jerome.

“Lots to get done,” I told him before stepping out onto the slippery sidewalk, the frigid air waking me up as I walked two miles north to my first destination: the dreaded cable company. Past experience had my expectations pretty low as I anticipated a long wait, grumpy folks behind the counter, and a mysterious odor you can never quite put your finger on.


Turns out, I was the first one there. While I had 20 minutes to wait until the doors opened, I’d come prepared with reading (no true New Yorker leaves home without it) and as the minutes passed, an inevitable line formed behind me. Then at 8:00 a.m. on the nose, a representative unlocked the door and to my surprise welcomed us with a “Good morning.”

Okay, so it wasn’t The Ritz, but a nice greeting nonetheless. Being first I was handed the first ticket. You’d have thought the slip of paper was a golden ticket from Willy Wonka himself the way my eyes widened at seeing the number A001. Within seconds my number was called. The teller, a woman in her 20s, gave me a huge smile when I handed her the old modem. “Oh good,” she said. “You still have the sticker on it. Most people peel it off. This will be easy.” In less than five minutes I was out the door

Having finished earlier than expected, I completed a few other errands, pleased to have had time to get them done. I even stopped in Fairway, a usual hotbed of chaotic aisles. But to my delight the narrow passages were clutter-free on account of it still being so early. Enjoying the rare moment of not being run down by shopping carts pushed by little old ladies, I headed to the deli counter and got another surprise: ticket number 01.

Walking home, errands done, the streets still quiet, I came upon a woman surrounded by birds. Her hand out, the birds sat on it, feeding. I stopped to watch, delighting in the trust from both parties.

“I guess the early bird really does get the worm,” I said to her.

She smiled. “Yes. But what I get is so much more.”

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