One of the first series on this blog was called Things I Saw At Lunch Today. I abandoned the series, because I lost my job and stopped leaving the house at lunchtime. When I became gainfully employed again, I never picked it back up. When I started the series, I worked in a working class neighborhood. Now, I work in an affluent area. The difference is remarkable.
This week’s writing challenge is about lunch, so I’ve been collecting these tidbits for you. The use of “today” in the title is a bit of a misnomer since I’ve been collecting these all week.
- Stuck at the red light by one of the many Starbucks, the old black man waves at the car ahead of me. He pantomimes like he has a steering wheel in front of him and honks the imaginary horn. He yells something that I can’t quite make out over the radio which is busy telling me the news. As the light turns green, he waves at all of us and continues his conversation with no one.
- A bearded man in a wheelchair quietly reads a book outside of the library. He is far away from the entrance doors. I take him for someone on his lunch break until I see the bowl of change in front of him and the sign that says, “have book. need food.” I give him the change in my pocket simply because he’s reading a book.
- A woman walks her dog down the street while on horseback. I try to think up a joke like, “A woman, a dog and a horse walk down the street,” but can’t come up with anything. Sometimes, life is stranger than jokes.
- Six women cross the street near the meat-packing plant. All of them are still wearing their plastic gloves and hair nets. They’re laughing.
- A woman waiting at the bus stop has fallen asleep. Her head slumps back against the bus stand and her mouth is open. I wonder if she’ll wake up when the bus comes or if she’ll sleep through it.
- I see the same plumber’s truck three times over the course of fifteen minutes. I cannot be sure if it is the same truck or several different trucks from the same company.
- A dog walker walks two Afghan hounds, a Maltese, a Pekingese, two pugs and four other dogs from breeds I don’t immediately recognize.
- A tall, thin man crosses the street. He’s wearing black dress shoes, grey dress pants and a long, buttoned up, black dress coat. He’s using an umbrella as a walking stick and wearing sunglasses. On his head is a shock of long gray and white hair paired with a long gray and white beard. He walks with long, confident strides. He reminds me of someone I used to know. I thought it was him for a second, but it wasn’t.
- Children are playing at recess in the yard of the private Catholic school. The girls are all wearing matching blue and green plaid pinafores. One of them is wearing fluorescent pink shoes. Those shoes are all I notice from a block away.
- A 1950s Chevy pickup truck with more rust than yellow paint in a parking lot amid a sea of shiny, new European sports cars. I wonder how these people always manage to keep their cars so clean. What’s the secret? My car is always so dirty. I think to myself that, if I had a choice between a shiny, new European sports car and that truck, I’d take the truck.
- A black compact car with giant white letters across the back window that say, “GOT JESUS?” My first thought is “No.”
- A nuclear family stands at the entrance to a strip mall holding a sign. It’s a man, a woman, a toddler and a baby in a stroller. The sign says, “Help. Need a ride to Valencia.”
- A woman walks down the street by the public park pushing a dog in a stroller. I instantly dislike her.