Thursday, July 26, 2007

Internal Conflict

I chose Maya's for lunch because I didn't see a single person there. (Not that I don't like people, but 45 minutes to myself a day is starting to become my greatest fantasy.)

I took my heaping plate of carnitas upstairs and nestled in with my trade paperback. Just before I gave myself over to the drama unfolding on the cheap paper propped open in front of me, I noticed a guy wearing winter clothes lurch into the bathroom and sort of fling the door shut. Not slam. Not enough coordination to pull that off. But whatever.

Ten minutes later, I hear a slurping snuffly sound. I peek slowly over my glasses and then my book, feeling like a Saturday Night Live cast member in a bad skit. Winter Outfit guy is standing over the bus tub by the wall, unstacking dishes and hoovering up whatever remnants are available.

Now. The part of me uncomfortable with the thought of people thinking I've been brought up in a barn (not far off the mark) is freaking out. She is, in fact, clutching another part of me that is completely germ phobic and screaming hysterically in her face. Maybe guilt by association?

Winter Outfit turns slightly in my direction. Our eyes lock over a squeezed and dripping fistful of refried beans, soggy tortilla chips, and a battered Stephen King novel.

Then the part of me that cringes at the thought of the tons of perfectly good stuff that gets tossed into Dumpsters every day shoves the two screeching ninnies in my head over on their skinny asses and nods at Winter Outfit. I offer him my chip basket. He looks suspicious for a second, then shakes his head, holds up his dripping hand full of leftovers and turns back to the bus tub.

I tried. But here's the thing:

Chris reported the other day that while waiting to get a table at the Hotcake House at 4AM that one of his drunk friends pulled the same thing. He reached over and snagged a piece of French Toast off an abandoned plate and was unceremoniously booted out. Chris and company ordered their food to go and ate with their exiled friend on the curb of Powell and 15th.

Since good things happen in threes, let me end with this encounter: I was sitting on the bench on the south side of the library and a man (also in winter garb, but far more vocal) was making his slow way from one end of the block to the other. I say slow because he would stop every 10 steps and turn around, screaming at an invisible opponent.

When he was three feet in front of me, he stopped, turned back, flipped the bird and yelled in a hoarse voice: "Smell this you dog-eared lesbian bitch!"

I love this town.

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