I wish I had eyes in the back of my head.
I know everyone wishes that, especially people with kids, so they could see what the kids are doing with the scissors and the permanent marker and the dirty diaper and the dog and the family heirloom without losing focus on driving.
I’d want the backward-facing eyes so I could stare at people in restaurants without fully swiveling my head like the exorcist. Steven says I’m the worst starer. He mimics the slack-jawed, bug-eyed look on my face when I stare, and it’s not flattering. There’s a word for the look, but you’re not allowed to use it anymore. You can’t even call it “special person,” I don’t think. But you get the picture.
It doesn’t help that I crane my neck to see and hear better. It looks like I’m trying to read small print.
Because I’m not allowed to stare the way I’d like, I only got a teasey smidge of this woman sitting behind me in the Indian restaurant on 6th Street and 2nd Avenue where we were eating the other night.
She came in with a group. I wouldn’t say she looked like Meryl Streep, but that’s who she’d pick out to play herself in the movie.
You could tell she’d expected to go somewhere much fancier than a chicken tikka masala joint. Judging from her ambitiously sparkly necklace, she’d probably suggested some place with a triple “22” score in Zagat, but gotten vetoed.
As soon as she sat down, she grabbed the vase with the single rose from the table and sniffed it deeply in a way that expressed, “I am someone who has an insatiable lust for life.”
But no one at her table saw her do it, because they were too busy picking their seats, looking at menus, and figuring out which way the bathroom was.
So, as soon as everyone was paying attention, she picked up the vase again, inhaled the rose so hard you could see a petal get suctioned to her nostril, closed her eyes and let out a loud “mmmmmm!”
Then, the man across from her — I assume her husband — said something I couldn’t hear, and she gave him this big life question to consider:
“What kind of person are you, Gary — an owner, or an employee?”
I wonder what Gary had just said. Probably, “I wish I could ask for the tandoori chicken to be all white meat” or “I wonder if they’d turn down the air conditioning.” Something wimpy and employee-ish.
I was dying to hear more, because I know there was a big show coming. This was the kind of woman who always has something to say, something she thinks you’ll type up and print out and pin to your cubicle wall. But I had to turn my head back to its normal, polite position. Also, the waiter brought over free ice cream, so. The florescent green scoop tasted like soap, but the orange one wasn’t half bad. Mango.
Do you love to stare and eavesdrop on people in public places? What’s the best thing you’ve overheard or seen lately?
Are you an owner, or an employee? Elaborate, please.
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