31 August 2005

Goblets of beer

I sat down at a table with a rag on it. The table wasn't clean, but my hunger made the rag look more promising than germ-ridden, and the rest of the tables were taken or still had paper plates on them. A waitress crackling with frazzled energy picked up the napkin dispenser, wiped off the table, tossed the rag on another dirty table, and took my order.

"Two with sauce and mustard, a rootbeer, and a bag of chips, please."

She made a brief note, said "OK" with a smile, and took off: lunch rush.

Leo's has been around a long time: the walls are covered in fake wood paneling and promotional beer signs. Though it was once a hardcore bar, their popular little hot dogs transformed Leo's into a family friendly dive. A couple of toddlers weaved unsteadily in the aisle behind me.

Ten feet away in the corner in front of me, a woman noticed me and turned to her friend with a smile. The second woman looked discreetly over her shoulder at me and then back at her friend. In their late 30s perhaps, athletic builds, with faces weathered by hard living. They were drinking beer out of glass goblets which was odd because Leo's serves just about every drink in a cold mug. I was sure they were making fun of my shirt.

"Oh my God, check out that tourist behind you."

"What kind of idiot wears a Hawaiian shirt in New England?"

"One like her." Snicker.

Mind you, I didn't actually hear anything they said, but it felt like a reasonable guess considering their body language and attire. They wore solid, pale grey tank tops in different hues with equally muted pants. My shirt is a casual, short sleeve in deep red with a bold, light beige, abstract floral pattern reminiscent of tribal tattoos. When I looked around, I noticed everyone's clothes were subdued. You can keep your monochrome.

The two women continued their conversation with occasional glances my way. Maybe it's not my shirt, maybe it's me. A laughable shirt would be a short-lived amusement, their behavior suggested something more. I started to wonder if they thought I was someone else because I didn't recognize them at all. The next time they glanced at me, I looked at them; they both looked away quickly and guiltily.

My waitress set the small paper plate with two hot dogs (mustard and chili sauce) in front of me, unhooked the mug of rootbeer from her thumb, and pulled a bag of chips from her apron. From behind her, one of my observers said, "Let's get two more." I thought this was for the waitress' benefit, but instead the two women moved to the bar where their backs were to me.


  1. a family friendly dive
    There's just something about the idea of a family friendly dive that makes me laugh.

    (btw, i think word verification is fun! :-P)

  2. Claire, it *is* you.

    The world around is you is black-and-white, while you are technicolor.

    You go girl with your hotdogs and rootbeer.


  3. Aw shucks, AJ, you know just what to say to a girl. :]

    and butterfly woman, it's an absolutely accurate description.

  4. Lke my mom would say to me, "Don't let the bitches get you down."

    On the plus side, I did knock over the sunsphere, and by that I mean it's nice to know there are other fellow paranoids (or "fellownoids") out there.