Today I took a late lunch hour since I am working alone. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to eat, and on days like this I usually end up at Mcdonald’s. Never my first choice but it’s close, it’s fast and it’s cheap.
I brought a copy of Real Simple with me, so after I got my food I picked a cozy booth in the back and flipped open my magazine. While thumbing through the first 20 pages of ads, I felt someone watching me. I looked up and in the booth across from me were two old ladies. I smiled and went back to my business, now aware that these ladies were there.
I waited to hear some conversation, but nothing. I was almost done eating by the time I heard anything.
“I supposed we better get back.”
“I SUPPOSE WE BETTER GET BACK, HE’S PROBABLY WONDERING WHERE WE ARE.”
And the ladies continued to sit there in silence, eating their fries and looking out the window.
I started wondering what their story was, and who would be wondering where they were. They were all dressed up, and after eating, one of them applied this coconut hand lotion that smelled really good. A little boy and his mom walked past and the boy said to his mom, “Mmm, it smells really good mommy! Like coconuts!”, and one of the ladies giggled. The one who had better hearing, I guess.
I thought about whether they were friends or siblings, or if they went to lunch often together. Seemed like they did. I wondered if their husbands were still around, or if they had husbands to begin with. I wondered what they thought of all these women like me, sitting alone, checking our cellphones randomly, looking hurried, wolfing our food down like animals. (Animals who use napkins, anyway.)
And most of all, I kind of envied the slower pace they were taking, enjoying their time just sitting and people watching, and it made me hope that I’ll be like them one day.
They even inspired a few deep, slower breaths from me, in between rabid bites that is.