Oct 29, 2008
Oct 21, 2008
Oct 10, 2008
The moment I enter the deli, all my guilt over being there melts away. What reasonable person would not surrender to the sweet smell of dry salami? My frozen Lean Cuisine left in the fridge at work is long forgotten. A hint of sour from pickles and eggs curing in large glass barrels of vinegar wafts by. A great mound of pastrami steams on the counter top, ready to be taken to a hungry dinner guest. Heavenly.
I am studying the vast over-sized menu on the wall above and having a particularly difficult time deciding on German potato salad or wonderfully seasoned fries for my sandwich's side order. My coworker suggests I pull out all the stops and get both. Why not? You only live once, I say.
Decisions made, I eye the people standing in line with us. A woman behind me waits with two young children. The girl and boy look up and me and offer small smiles. The little girl holds a picture she has colored of an orange pumpkin with a happy grin. "JUAN" is near the top of the page in big green letters with an orange happy face in Crayon. She is perhaps five and proud of her school artwork.
An unseasonal heatwave cooks the pavement outside, but the children's mother wears a nylon jacket. Her hair is long, thin and separating with oil at the crown. She wears no makeup and there are no socks between the end of her faded blue sweatpants and her scuffed tennis shoes. Both children wear school uniforms common in this area - khaki pants and a white shirt. The boy's hair is buzzed. His sister's blond hair is cut a bit jaggedly at the neckline.
As I order my pastrami dream boat, one of the cooks waves enthusiastically from behind the counter. The little girl yells, "Juan! Hi!" and waves her pumpkin drawing in the air. The cook holds up one finger and smiles. "Hi Juan!" says the girl again. Her mother quiets her gently.
We step aside to wait for our take-out orders. The woman approaches the cashier, who greets her warmly. She orders a side of fries and three waters. She pays for her order with exact change: $2.60. The woman and her children sit at the counter, she in between them.
A few moments later, Juan emerges from the kitchen with a pizza platter piled high with fat home style french fries, another plate with condiments of peppers, ketchup, and small cups of shredded cheese, onions, salsa and possibly cilantro. He sets down three tall glasses of ice water with several lemon slices in each. Both children's drinks have colorful corkscrew straws.
He pats the woman on the shoulder and they share some words. He shakes the little boy's hand and the young girl can no longer contain herself. "JUAN!" she yells, "Look at! For you!" He takes his pumpkin picture, smiles widely and gives her a light hug before returning to the kitchen. The woman has already begun eating. She takes one fry at a time while her son takes heaping handfuls.
The cashier calls our number. She hands me my bag heavy with a pound of pastrami, potato salad AND french fries in one hand, super-sized Coke in the other.
Oct 1, 2008
I am soaking my feet in warm sudsy water in the little basin below my chair at the nail salon. A pedicure is the one cosmetic luxury I refuse to surrender to my tightening budget for a couple of reasons: one, my lower back issues make straightening my leg after contorting to paint my toes a slow burn and, two, my little piggies take on a life of their own if they are not professionally maintained. I'll give up dinner and drinks before I cancel the pedicure.
The afternoon's heat hangs in the salon. My eyes burn with the day's computer work and I let my heavy lids fall. The more the foot bath vibrates, the farther away my cares go. The pedicurist lifts my foot onto the platform and goes to work. Little pangs of ticklishness make me smile.
A young girl's shrill voice rings out. I pop my eyes open and see two teenage girls bouncing through the door. Their energy shows through radiant smiles and easy giggles. They are white, tall and long-haired, one blond, one brunette, with thin jean clad legs and the requisite flip flops for pedicured toes. They take empty chairs on either side of me and continue their conversation seamlessly. After some chatter about last night's episode of "90210":
Brunette: I'm soooo tired of watching it on the small screen in my room. My Mom keeps hogging the flat screen to watch all that economy junk.
Blond: Ugh. Seriously. If I have to hear about that Main Street Wall Street stuff again, I'm gonna kick the screen!
Brunette: Haha! Ha! Yeah, and all the election crap? I mean, who cares? Politics are boring!
Blond: Thank you! That's what I tell my Dad and he's all, you should care about your future -
Brunette: Heehee! Whatever. It's boring.
The pedicurists working on the girls' feet do not take their eyes off the job at hand. They are young Asian women, perhaps mid-20s. They are simply dressed with minimal make-up. Their shiny black hair shrouds their faces as they continue working, stooped over on small stools.
Blond: My Dad keeps telling me I better to register before Monday.
Brunette: Well I'm not voting either. What's one vote gonna matter? Plus Obama and McCain are both weird!
The woman working on the brunette's feet looks up at her, and then to her coworker who says something in their native language. The woman again looks at her customer. In broken English she says, "You vote. You must vote. In my country, people they die to voting."
The girls look at each other and laugh. The woman's coworker says something to her. She looks down and resumes working. As I leave the salon, I notice a little alter in the corner with a Buddha, some fruit, incense sticks and a small American flag.
I'm wondering if the bruise on my forehead will ever heal. Repeatedly banging my head on the wall while redesigning my blog template has really taken its toll on this otherwise hard-headed gal. It's with great relief and a small dollop of pride that I present to you Eavesdropping Blogger Version 2.0. I hope you find the new look creative and easy on the eye. Take a second and tell me if it floats your boat or not in my sidebar poll.
For a technical novice, it's been a long strange trip. But I've enjoyed challenging myself, well, except for breaking the panic threshold and resorting to the above-mentioned head banging. Even so, I discovered some very useful sites that you might investigate if you're considering remodeling. If you haven't already visited Blogger Buster, head over straight away. Amanda is the patron saint of Blogger blogs. Tons of excellent tips and code await you with instructions in plain English. Her site is why I still blog on the Blogger platform.
As you can see, I'm taking a stab at monetization, mainly because buying gas and food sucks off all my money for treats and entertainment. Although gas is much more useful, it doesn't taste nearly as good as fancy coffee drinks. Although food tastes better than gas, bread and butter just don't hold my attention like the latest thriller movie. Living paycheck to paycheck sure cramps my style. If you lost your job recently and don't even get a paycheck to complain about, please ignore this entire paragraph of whining as you have concerns more legitimate than coffee and movies. Accept my sympathies on that account.
In the interest of disclosure, the advertisements on my blog do contain my affiliate links. You probably already know that, but saying it straight out makes me feel less sleazy about it.
If you've been visiting for a few months, you know that my Dad had a rough summer with sudden poor health. After many tests and nearly as many stops and starts, we are finally heading down the right road with dialysis treatments for kidney failure - a tough diagnosis but one not without hope. So, thanks to readers who sent well wishes. He is doing far better now and I rejoice in that.
Finally and most importantly, a big thank you to all who continue spending time reading my blog. I find it remarkable and quite humbling that readers visit and comment on my material. This blog that began as a way to store my creative writing ideas has become a real source of inspiration, mostly because of your reactions to my observations. Thanks for that.
Now back to what you came here for, eavesdropping...