Thursday, July 19, 2012

Back to the chicken tenders.

Some 1980's-I-wish-I-was-Phil-Collins song played on the radio.  Neither seemed to notice.  They both sat there, two grown men, in awkward silence.  Every now and then, the seemingly younger one tried to make conversation and the older one would respond with short, terse, one word answers before returning to his chicken tenders.  Sometimes, he would stare off into the distance as though he was mulling over some great and philosophical thought, then give his short, terse, one word answer.
Time had taken its toll on both of them; on their hair lines; on their waste lines; on their sense of fashion.  One wore nikes with wranglers and the other wore brown loafers with some sort of generic brand of jeans, suspended by a black belt.

Slow clenching and releasing of the jaw; avoiding eye contact.  "How are your chicken  McNuggets?" he ventured.  We're currently at Wendy's.
Profound silence.  Avoiding eye contact.  Looking out the window as his chicken tender is consumed. A man on a motorcycle drives by.  The older, more awkward, silent man watches.  I wonder at his reluctance to answer.
Back to the chicken tenders.  A sip of coke.  I sip some of my less-than-desirable orange coke.
The younger one is checking his phone, now.  Nope, no texts or emails or any reasonable distraction. 
Now, the Clash are playing and the younger one stares at a mexican family in a booth across the restaurant.
Perhaps they are work acquaintances, or some sort of distant relative.  I wonder if either of them settled for less than what they wanted in their life.  I wonder if an unexpected baby or injury set them back to the extent that they cashed in their dreams for a bonus and a dental plan.  I wonder if either of them are good singers or if they can paint.  Did either of them ever think about going to the moon?  What happened along the way?
The silent one checks his watch.
Time to go.
They pile up their surplus, dump it into the trash and are gone.  Back to work, I suppose.

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