People watching is the best show on earth...

May 31, 2008

Last Night's Sex

. May 31, 2008
6 Whispers


I bought our tickets early in the morning, left work before 5 p.m. and drive up to a completely packed parking lot. After circling for 10 minutes, boom, a beautiful space near the front of the aisle. I'm way early and feeling good about taking my responsibility as seat scout seriously. As I wait in my car for 6:30 to roll around, throngs of young women pass by. Most walk briskly, some run toward the movie theater.

I'm here for the Sex and the City movie premiere. I convinced my two girlfriends it's absolutely necessary to see it on Southern California's opening night and thus, became the seat scout by default. No complaints, it's worth it to me. So, while we're enjoying a night of girl talk with our friends Charlotte, Carrie, Samantha (my favorite) and Miranda, our boyfriends will have just as much fun watching sports and bumping chests together. Life is good.

At 6:30, the line forms for our 7:15 show. I leave my car and happily take my place, fourth in line. It's a literal fashion parade. Girls in sundresses and little sweaters sashay by, every hair in place (the Charlottes). Ladies in edgy outfits with big flower pins or long dangling necklaces prance along the line (the Carries). Women with plunging necklines and tight mini skirts or white Capri pants going commando walk their boobs past me (the Samanthas). Chicks in jeans and fitted cotton tops with flat ironed locks march purposely to the end of the line (the Mirandas).

My friends arrive and we play a fun game of "fake or real". The ratio's about 3:1, fake. The two movie goers behind us in line laugh once they catch on to our game. They each wear a hot pink boa around their neck:

#1: Oh my god. Oh MY GOD! This is so much fun.
#2: Yes! I totally feel like one of the girls tonight.
#1: It's gonna be great. It's gonna be fabu.
#2: I just hope Carrie and Big finally just get married already.
#1: I mean, hello? After all he's put her through?
#2: Ugh, that Big boy....hahaha!

I take great delight in pushing my more conservative girlfriend's chin up to close her slightly open mouth. "Those boys are wearing pink boas," she whispers.

May 26, 2008

I Pooped!

. May 26, 2008
13 Whispers


I'm enjoying a tall stack of cinnamon raisin pancakes this morning in an outdoor neighborhood eatery that overlooks a little of the bay. Fellow breakfasters also brave the cold weather with me, refusing to accept this unseasonal chilly Memorial Day in Southern California. My friend and I chat about her cousin, a Marine serving in Iraq. He's especially on her mind today.

As she speaks, I absent-mindedly pour some more delicious maple syrup on my pancakes (nothing beats original maple flavor). Looking down I see the bottom two pancakes are completely submerged in syrup. Perfect.

There's a steady din of conversation around us, punctuated with seagull squawks now and then. Suddenly, a toddler's voice breaks out above the rest:

"Mommy! Mommy! I pooped! I pooped in the potty!"

He's a round little bundle with pink cheeks chilled by the crisp air. A small green cap atop his head says, "ARMY". He wears tan cargo pants and the feet inside his brown hiking boots stomp quickly toward his mother, who sits next to us at a table with an older woman and man. The teenage girl bringing him back to their table laughs loudly and claps.

Another man at a nearby table also claps. A woman joins in, a girl, another man. The applause makes the boy stop in his tracks. His mother stands up and goes to him, also clapping. A high pitched giggle bursts forth from him as mom picks him up and snuggles his face with hers.

She wears a dark green sweatshirt. It says, "Support Our Troops" on the back. As she settles him back in at the table, she sits down and I see, "ARMY" across the front of her sweatshirt. My friend and I wonder who has missed this joyous occasion, a father, a boyfriend, a brother, a son? All of the above?

A small boy's poops in the toilet - something we laugh about and take for granted; another event to write him about.

May 22, 2008

Attitude and Gratitude at the Garage Sale

. May 22, 2008
18 Whispers


As the orange sun rises over my little pocket of California, I’m unpacking boxes and boxes of trinkets, CDs and jeans I can’t believe once fit me. Arranging everything on the lawn and driveway, I wonder why I chose the hottest Saturday of the year to have a garage sale. Beads of sweat flick off my forehead, a little river courses down my back. Lovely.

Before we even finish laying out the goods, carloads of shoppers drive up. Young kids find the stuffed animals and board games immediately while their parents pick through more practical items. Some prices are marked while others are up for barter. A Hispanic man tries out my maroon velvet over sized chair. “How much?” he asks. “Thirty bucks,” I say, and he suggests $10. No, not at 6:30 in the morning. I tell him $10 is the afternoon price.

A white woman kneels beside one of my jean piles. She is mid-40s, blond, wearing Capri pants, a white t-shirt with “DKNY” in black and nice leather sandals. Her toenails are French manicured. She calls her daughter over, who has iPod buds stuck in her ears. The girl takes her time responding. She fixates on her iPod Nano, working the wheel and taking a few steps toward her mother at a time. She is thin with blond hair cut in a fashionable bob, making her look older than the teenager she is. She wears tight white Apple Bottom jeans and a light pink halter-top. I put her at 16 years old.

By the time she reaches her mom, the woman holds a stack of my nicest jeans – about 5 pair – and smiles eagerly at her child:

Mom: Honey, these are all sevens and in great shape!
Girl: Oh.
Mom: Well, check them out. Here. I think they’re really nice. Look! There’s L.E.I., Ralph Lauren, Calvins… (she hands her the stack).
Girl: Uh huh. Yeah. (She looks at the top pair and hands the stack back to mom).
Mom: Okay, well, I’m going to get them. They’re just your size and in mint condition. They’re only $3 each.
Girl: Fine.

She walks away from her mother and towards their SUV. The mother pays me $15 without hesitation and leaves with a nice stack of denim.

I turn to find a Hispanic mother and her teen daughter looking at one of my old bridesmaid dresses hanging on a coat rack. It’s a lavender strapless chiffon, a popular style in its day but not so high fashion a decade later. Still, the girl fingers the material carefully, swishing the long skirt around her dark legs in faded jean shorts. Her mother removes the dress from the hanger and holds it up to her daughter, both smile.

The mother asks for the price. I tell her $5. The two confer together for a few moments. Both open their purses. The mother produces $4 and the daughter adds $1 of her own. I package the dress in its original garment bag and when I turn to hand it over, the girl is hugging her mother with both arms:

"Thank you mom! Thank you so much."

 

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