Scenes from a snack hunt

The Street talks. Ed chomps

OK, so you caught me heading for Jack In the Box (1110 C Street at City College trolley stop). Yeah, sometimes I do. Quick bite before heading down to Broadway to catch the 210 for Mira Mesa.

Alas and alack: the JIB is no mo'. They've demolished it! Except for the sign. And some iron rebar. Guess they're rebuilding.

So this is how I end up outside OJ's Mini Mart (1129 Broadway, downtown, 619-237-0015), right by the 210 and #2 bus stop. Hey, they may have something. Sandwich, or a bag of chips at least?

I like how the inside's clean and tidy. Seems to stock everything from packets of burger buns to cigarettes.

I step in. A buzz of people ahead of me. Like, guy's looking at a cell phone he's thinking of buying. The lady he's with is trying to decide which incense stick she wants, the cinnamon or the apricot. Big guy between them - think he's buying a pack of cigarettes - starts telling everybody about this motel. "I got Thai, I got Dutch, I got South American...Room two-six...You're not listening to me!"

Nobody is.

Me, I'm backing out to look at the sandwich board just outside the door. The one with the offers.

"Specials," it says. "We will save you lots of $$. Over $1 cheaper than 7/11."

Talking about the 7/11 over the road at the trolley station.

I mean maybe they are cheaper here. They're offering things like earphones from $2.99. But what catches my eye is the $1 for a 12-ounce coffee or $1.40 for soda plus chips, and cookies from 60 cents to 99 cents.

Turns out Ferris, the guy behind the counter, is Chaldean.

"Ah!" I say. "Dichiwoods?"

My friend Wissam at another liquor store taught me this. It's Aramaic for "How are you?"

"Randa!" says Ferris. It means "Good!"

It's only now that I notice Cindelli, the Doberman pincher. Huge dawg is lying on a cushion behind the counter five feet from Ferris. No wonder everybody's so well-behaved in here.

So snack decision time. I'd love to get the $1.40 deal, but need that cawfee, not soda. So I fork over all of two buckeroos for the joe and the pack of chips.

But who's complaining?

Nothin' funner than parking your hot steaming cawfee on the back of the bus stop bench, crackin' open your bag of Sun Harvest Cheddar chips, and shootin' the breeze with the clump of people waiting for their rides (on the #2, mostly). Even if we only met, like, 30 seconds ago, and we're gonna go our separate ways, soon as this 210 rolls up.

But never did chips and coffee taste better.

Was our stuff cheaper here than at the 7/11?

I'da been across Broadway in a flash to check. But right about then, the 210 turns up. That's life in the fast lane, I guess.

At least those chips will see me through the next couple of hours.

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