My number came up early

I don't go to the mercato di Sant'Ambrogio as much as I'd like to. Instead of going three or four times a week, I walk there maybe once a week instead. And sometimes instead of going there I go to the mercato centrale for fish. Out of convenience, I shop along via dei Neri where I have my ortolano (green grocer), forno (bakery), and macellaio (butcher).

I went to my favorite ortolano, cheese shop, and macellaio where I usually buy things and bumped into two friends of mine. It's always so pleasant to go and chat with everyone.

I go to another macellaio now that my favorite one has retired. Usually in the mercato there's no need to take numbers during the week, but my macellaio gets busy and it's necessary. I picked a number and walked around the large glass case to see what they had.

The macellaio who owns the shop asked me, "Non trovi qualcosa? (Are you not finding something?)" I told him that I was just looking and that I had forgotten that they sold chicken. He smiled, but was busy with a customer, so I didn't want to disturb him. I walked to the other side near the cassa (cash register) to look at the other meats they had.

A few seconds later, a young guy who works there leaned toward me and said, "Le posso aiutare? (Can I help you?)" "Sta giÓ a me? (Is it my turn?)" I asked knowing that my number hadn't come up yet. "Il capo mi ha detto di aiutarLa. (The boss told me to help you.)" he said.

I quickly rattled off the few items I wanted, paid, and thanked him. I couldn't catch the eye of the capo to thank him, so I had to walk away.

I felt almost guilty to have been helped before it was my turn. I thought that was nice of him to serve me quickly. I was happy no one said anything because generally people are really good about keeping track of who is next in line. Even I knew that I was before one woman and after another.

I left the mercato with all my favorite items and walked through the side streets past my old apartment and through Piazza Santa Croce, which was filled with tourists. I walked down via dei Neri to get a few more items that would've been too heavy to carry from the mercato.

Sometimes the mercato seems so far away from my apartment, but in actuality it's quite close. The days when I have little time and I buy my food in via dei Neri, I can't imagine spending another half an hour to walk to and from the mercato, but on a pleasant day like today, it was a true pleasure.

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