Friday, January 05, 2007

Lunch plans

I joyride for lunch. Sometimes, that’s what I do. Sort of, that is… I get in the car, and rain or shine, for a ride to people watch, point, and laugh. Sort of , too!
One of my most favorite rides is through the rich and fancy part of town! I want to ride the streets lined up with ancient oaks, huge lakes, million dollar homes, and quaint old-looking (all new) shopping centers. I want to pretend just for a brief 30 minutes I am part of that life!
I used to have close relatives living in that part of town; I even lived with them for a couple of months, but now, I sat myself comfortably in the middle class, and just dream of those places and of that life.
So, I get in my car, and ride away. I watch every car that goes by, and take in as much as I can from the richness of the lawns, and the majesty of the columns of the mansions. I erase every memory of MY life, and take in the new. Refreshing, replenishing, bringing new a new picture of life. I look up at the trees and they are guarding towers, it seems, of this “rich” world. All the new communities around town have been stripped naked of the trees. The old ones keep them up, guarding this world, it seems!
I look DOWN from my Toyota sedan at the Lexus’s and Infiniti’s and Acura SUV’s and Jaguars passing me by. Older people, slow as Christmas, so bored of life, and having everything. They have nothing to hurry towards. Death only, perhaps, but why hurry then??! Younger people, soccer moms in minivans, driving slow because they’re reciting the latest baby rhyme they learned to the toddler in the back, watching the rug rat in the rear view mirror! Men in suits meeting the soccer mom in the quaint shopping center for lunch, slow on the cell phones. And then there are the pickup trucks! Even they have their own luxury about them: parked on the lawns, hauling people trimming lawns and branches.
I take it all in, and dream that for that brief moment one of the houses on the lake is mine, and the handyman is doing work for me, while I run to the store for a birthday card and some cash, and while speaking on the cell with my CEO husband who’s in Florida for the monthly convention! What would he like for dinner when he comes back?! I giggle, in my dream. I dream… and smile. And the trees look pretty and reverential. Unmoved, like the people who have forgotten, it seems to be alive. They are waiting for life to happen, it seems. Life just comes to them! They are HERE. They don’t need to rush! It’s a cultish life, it looks like.
At the coffee shop, where I stop for lunch, with today’s paper in hand, business men read the stocks page, while taking notes in their pda’s, while soccer moms, meeting each other for lunch sound disappointed that there is no Talbots Kids anywhere near that side of town, and the kids are going to “pitch a fit if they strap them down and take them all the way across town to buy them a sweater”… “ but they really need some new sweaters because Grandma Ellen bought them these sorry excuses of shirts for Christmas, and she is so cheap, bless her heart, she got them at the mall somewhere, and they just look hideous on little Annie. She can’t go out like THAT! She’s becoming quite a young lady now that she is turning 4! Talbots is what fits her best”. Oh, the dilemmas!
I dream, and smile …
I like the coffee shop in the “rich neighborhood” because it plays good music: The Beatles, and Kenny G, and Michael Bolton (yeah, laugh away!) and Classical tunes – it’s a refreshing escape. Where else do you hear THAT?! And they have fancy drinks that I never order, like mochas, lattes, and “grandes” and EVEN “never-ende’s” (I am not kidding – that’s a type of coffee). I don’t order them; I just order a $2 bagel and I read the entertainment section of the paper. And I smile and dream…
For one half of an hour a month or so I get to be a decadent voyeur and just soak in this “triflesomeness” and pretentiousness. I get to look in, and wonder what it’d be like if I was looking out. What would it be like to drive those cars, ever so slowly not to mess them up, and what it’d be like to meet my husband for lunch and not say a word, since he’s busy reading the stocks or answering the cell, and he would be so bored if I told him for the millionth time that the nest door neighbor went for their third cruise this year and bought a new Jag, and she got all new veneers, too! And then drive back home with no purpose at all, or maybe back at the store for that birthday card and some cash, and then home with no purpose at all. You know someone is either rich or old, if they get cash INSIDE of the bank, after standing in line! If they have time for ALL that, and not doing the drive through: yeah, they’re either rich or old! They have time! Time is priceless to all of us, middle-classers. We notice that! Back to my dream: Would I be bored living the rich life? Enjoy it? Would I scream out of solitude and boredom?! Or would I enjoy the peace and quiet? Is there peace and quiet, or it is all pretense? Is there more noise than they let us hear from out here?!
And I make up little stories about all the people I see in my head, and I look around one more time, one last view of the coffee shop before returning to my middle class reality. I bless the God of food because this day, at the coffee shop, they’re giving away free samples of ciabatta sandwiches, so I get extra sandwich material on top of my $2 bagel! And while looking back I see the rich folks saying no to the free samples, and I feel sorry for them! They don’t know what they’re missing!
I always smile when I leave and on my drive back. It’s never a regret of returning to my world . No! No room for such things for me. But it’s always a nice trip! Very refreshing, eye-opening, recharging…

1 comment:

Kehaar said...

You're a good writer.

Now imagine a younger Romanian immigrant, fresh off the plane, a passenger in someone else's car, looking at all the things America is...all the things that America has to offer. She's dreaming and smiling of one day being a middle class American.

And now she can look back and laugh and smile. Because she made it.