Slow winter at work.North Avenue Beach has become my hang out spot.
Empty parking lot.
Cold, grey waves.
Dirty snow paths.
Leafless trees like varicose veins.
The bar and grill, closed.
The apocalyptic nature of winter seems to appeal to me.
Using the van keyboard I worked on a song about a has-been who haunts a frozen beach wearing a proud, tattered cape.
Then a park district crew circled and gave me suspicious looks.
Then a tourist knocked on my driver's side window to pay me for parking.
Why didn't I take his money?
Then the Hi Guy navigated the lakefront gusts on his tenty tank of a bike.
I waved Hi, Guy!
No I didn't.
I picked up a small package for delivery to an Animal Hospital.
A 3-pack of white out.
Why would I be delivering white out to an Animal Hospital?
At the delivery, a young woman in purple scrubs cheered,
"Oh yay! The stool sample!!"
After work Lauren and I went to the supermarket. There, a woman in her miserable twilight was yelling in the cereal aisle at a mother and son, accusing them of stealing with foreign accents. The son had used his foreign accent to open a can of pop before they purchased it and was drinking it.
"YOU THINK HE'S GONNA PAY FOR THAT!?"
The mother used her foreign accent, "MIND YOUR BUSINESS!"
The woman would not relent.
"I WON'T MIND MY OWN BUSINESS WHEN PEOPLE ARE STEALING IN FRONT OF ME!! IT'S PEOPLE LIKE YOU..."
Lauren and I grabbed the Special K on sale and moved along. In the liquor aisle we found a six-pack for the evening's festivities: a dinner date at an Ethiopian restaurant with my old, good friend Laura.
While in the checkout line we saw the curmudgeoness reporting the theft to customer service. The woman behind the counter didn't seem too concerned. When approached, Lauren admitted that she, too, had consumed products in the store and had paid for them later at the checkout.
The woman hobbled away muttering, "...a couple of dumb bitches..."
You know, it's people like her...
My friend Laura and I have known each other for twenty years. In that time our lives have splintered off into two very different directions, but we've always kept in touch. Laura has moved back to The United States after having spent the last five years working in Africa. Over affordable doro tibs, awaze tibs, shuro, yesimir wot, injera and beer we caught up. She is excited to start a new life in Chapel Hill, and I am looking forward to visiting that town some time this year.