People watching is the best show on earth...

Apr 29, 2008

Ball Buster

. Apr 29, 2008
35 Whispers

I'm having a strawberry shake at Archie's Diner around dinner time. (Yes, I know, it sounds like a joint straight out of the Happy Days TV show). You can't beat the shakes here, or much else, for that matter. It's dusk and unusually warm for a spring evening in Southern California. There are eight tables arranged outside and I grab one of the last two empty ones.

Mostly couples surround me, enjoying their dinners. A small girl has found a beetle of sorts scurrying toward her on the ground. "Daddy!" she shrieks. Her father jumps up and squashes the bug under his big foot to her delight.

Pronounced shuffling drawing near catches my attention. A large white woman wearing a Sponge Bob t-shirt, white sweatpants and flip flops drags her feet. She holds a super-sized soda and claims the last empty table. Her nails are done red and her wedding ring finger sports a big rock. She sits down with a sigh.

Moments later a small white man with thinning brown hair and dark-rimmed glasses joins her. He carries two trays of food and I wonder how he managed to navigate the door to come outside. He gives her a burger and fries combo. She begins eating before he unloads the other tray. He sets a sandwich down for himself. He's about to sit down:

Sponge Bob: Where's my ranch?
Husband: Oh, uh, I thought I asked her for a side.
Sponge Bob: Guess not. Go get me some ranch. Get me two cups.

He goes back inside without taking a bite. She continues eating. She spoke loud enough for two other people to take second glances at her. She doesn't notice. Her husband returns with three cups of ranch.

They barely speak during dinner. Her chair screeches on cement no more than 10 minutes later. Her food is gone. Her husband is just finishing the first half of his sandwich:

Sponge Bob: Come on. Let's go. I'm tired.
Husband: Oh -

He wraps his sandwich in the paper and takes it with him. She has already reached the sidewalk. He skips a few steps to catch up with her, much like a squirrel hopping across the grass holding a little nut.

I look around and notice at least three men staring after them open-mouthed. One of the wives looks at her husband looking at them and laughs.

Apr 17, 2008

New Old Lovers

. Apr 17, 2008
29 Whispers

I'm having an early dinner by myself at a friendly coffee shop called Hoff's Hut. I'm always hopeful to eavesdrop something juicy when I'm dining alone; it's so much easier to listen and I go deep under cover with my nose in a book. I'm done with my meal and am nursing a hot tea. It seems I'm not going to hear much tonight. The waitress refills my hot water and I give it one more try, although the booths around me are empty.

I'm draining the last honey packet into my mug when the hostess walks by showing an elderly couple to the booth in front of me. She bids them a good meal and leaves while the man helps the woman sit down. She bends stiffly, slowly navigating the bench's right angle. She sits down with a sigh and says, "There we go". I hear a smile in her voice. She sits with her back to me. Her bright white hair is in a medium length ponytail tied with a black scrunchy. She pulls her ponytail into place with hands tipped with rose pink nails.

Her husband is bald with glasses and a light blue sweater vest. He holds a closed-mouth smile the entire time he browses the menu. They discuss various choices and both decide on the same thing, the meatloaf dinner. As I watch him over my reading glasses, he continuously leans forward when she speaks, nodding his head. His replies are punctuated with mild laughter. His eyes are blue and rarely leave her face. They talk about her new jewelry after they order:

Her: (Showing him her finger) Well, what do you think? I like how it turned out.
Him: (Takes his glasses off and pulls her hand closer) It's beautiful. Very nice. The greens and blues are just beautiful.
Her: Yes, I really love it. Just love it. Thank you, sweetheart.
Him: (He kisses her hand)
Her: She even commented on it, how unusual it is. She's a nice girl. She does beautiful work.
Him: Yes, she does. Can she make earrings? See if she can make you earrings to match.
Her: Oh no, it's enough.
Him: See if she can do it.

The waitress brings their beverages. The lady goes into her purse:

Her: Oh, honey, I guess we should give you this coupon now.
Waitress: Oh, it's your anniversary! Congratulations. How many years?
Him: Two years today. I never imagined I'd be twice blessed. I'm a lucky man.

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