It was cold and dark. It always is cold and dark in York at this time of year. I was half-drunk in a bar in the city center. I pop out for salty meaty nourishment and wander down some narrow alley toward a yellow light pouring off the kebab truck. They serve up a pile of lukewarm strip-meat that not only fails to strike the mystic chords of my culinary memory and summon the ghost of kebabs past in Manhattan, but also eradicates any notion that I could find decent street food in this medieval town. I'll have to start eating more for dinner or find a takeaway place along the route of my habitual bar-crawl.
I head back to the bar, stuffing my face with onions and alien meat-product as I walk. A lad (the English version of a bro, or, more accurately, the frat-boy's inbred cultural half-cousin) trawling clubland chirps:
"You're not gonna puwl wiff unyun breaf like dat, mate!"
"What? What are you saying? Is that Welsh?"
"Nah, Da Girls, mate. Is' a bit erlee fo' a Kebab, dontcha fink?"
On my return I wait outside, forcing down my greatest gastronomical mistake since ordering clam chowder south of New York City. Two fellas make eye contact with me across the patio. They point to my pile of pseudo-meat and nod with approval. The kebab, which to the clubbing scene had violated the basic law of vodka-mixers-till-you-get-laid, is here, outside an open mic, something else--something better. I ditch the plastic kebab wrapper and light a boge, grab my ale (If only I could remember which jar was actually mine…) and head over to my comrades-in-kebab for a light. They oblige.
"Good kebab, mate?"
“Hey waaitt is that BOB DYLAN on your T-shirt?"
In a deep northern accent that is beyond my powers to recreate, they confirm for themselves that it is, demonstrate their love for Dylan by bellowing his new single, discover that I'm from near New York (har har New York to old York, eh har har) and force me to do Robert De Niro impressions for the rest of the night. Ah, Locals. Locals and Kebabs.