no further words were needed

To love pizza and live in the Northwest is to know true despair. It's god-awful here. And it's $25—the bitter chaser to the styrofoam taste.

Today, as I have so many times for over two decades, I dejectedly opened the door to a restaurant serving what I was promised is "genuine New York pizza." Whatever. Let's rule it out and move on to the next dump.

But wait. Pizza by the slice? No pineapple or arugula options? No silverware? Charred, foldable crust? Pools of orange grease atop the cheese? Canollis on the menu? I allowed myself a half-gram of hope. And it wasn't bad. Not bad at all.

I praised the NYC-native owner for the lack of pineapple. He and I chatted a bit about pizza and the Northwest, and then he asked me what part of New York I was from.

"I'm not," I replied.

"Oh. Sorry. And here I am talkin' like I know you."

"It's all right. I'm from Ohio. We talk to strangers, too."

When I left, he was outside, smoking next to the dumpster. I said goodbye and thanked him for dinner. "You know," he said softly, "I do have pineapple in the kitchen. You'd go out of business in the Northwest without it. I just don't put it on the menu because I'm ashamed."