Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Some things are meant to be ignored.

The fortysomething man in the coffee shop with the rock-musician hair and the sandals and the purple T-shirt and the skin tone that suggests a natural tan mixed with natural dirt and dust gets up to go to the bathroom. The sign on the door says "Please knock before entering." He either sees it and chooses to ignore it or doesn't see it at all.

He comes out a few minutes later. A sign on the door inside the bathroom says "Please turn out the light. Thank you!" He either sees it and chooses to ignore it or doesn't see it at all. But he's been here before.

A few minutes later he goes back to the bathroom, this time with a newspaper. The man doesn't read signs asking him to be polite and perform simple tasks in places that aren't his own home, but he does require reading material when performing other everyday tasks.

Before he reaches the bathroom door he does some twists: spine goes left, arms go right, spine goes right, arms go left. He steps toward the door again, then lifts his knees up to his chest one at a time. I see all this, but I pretend to ignore it, as if I didn't see it at all.

A few minutes later he comes out of the bathroom. The newspaper does not. He's left the light on once again. Maybe newspapers are afraid of the dark. Maybe he's the only one who knows this.

The man goes outside and paces around while talking on his cell phone for 20 minutes. In that time I use the bathroom. I turn off the light as I exit. The man with the long hair comes back to the bathroom a third time. No knock before he walks in, no flipping off the light as he leaves. He goes back outside to make another phone call. But now he's left with a burning question: How did the newspaper get up and turn off the light while he was making his phone call?

Some questions are better left unanswered.

As I make my way out of the coffee shop, I notice the man has taken up two entire tables with briefcases, papers, and a computer. He's set up shop. Until he goes home, he is home.

I leave the coffee shop and wait for the light to change so I can cross the street. Even though he isn't planning to cross the street, the man strolls up beside me and says into his phone, "Is this the home of 'Make My Day' Kay?"

Some things are meant to be ignored.

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