Last semester I found myself sitting on planes quite often. I don’t mean this in a figurative way like I rediscovered my soul or anything of that nature. Nor do I mean to imply that I was sleep-traveling (although, how neat would that be?). I simply mean to say that I traveled a lot via airplane during the months of November and December. (I suppose I could have just said it that way to begin with, but I didn’t want to. Deal with it.)
I wouldn’t say I was a “frequent flyer,” but I would tell anyone who’d listen that I could get through security—shoes off, coat off, scarf off, giraffe necklace off, change out of pocket, laptop out of bag, liquids in a clear quart-sized Ziploc, boarding pass out, small talk with security guard, shoes back on, scarf and coat in hand to put on later, giraffe necklace thrown in bag with laptop and liquids, change forgotten in plastic bin—in under two minutes. This is, of course, if I was among other non-novices. If a first time flyer was anywhere in front of me, all bets were off.
I’m at Starbucks near the harbor—close enough to mention, far enough to park for free—and I’m supposed to be writing about a past, flawed relationship. But facing my own naivety doesn’t seem near as fun as people watching, so I choose the latter.
Small groups of people are scattered around the patio, swapping life’s disappointments or the promise of the upcoming weekend, and I sit alone at a table for two.
An older, red Honda pulls into the parking space in front with the unmistakable crunch of bumper hitting concrete. There’s a collective gasp and the chatter momentarily stops. Mouths hang ajar as they watch the car reverse slowly, producing a scrape rather than a crunch this time.
When the older gentleman (maybe 60) steps out of the car, he smirks at the onlookers and I turn away. I’m embarrassed for him, although he seems relatively unaffected. The patio crowd continues to point at the car and talk about the event, even after he walks inside. They’re acting as though he rolled over a box of kittens, their blood giving his car its audacious color. He crunched his bumper. It happens.