My wife was out for the evening and I thought I’d take the kids out for dinner. After finding that our local McDonald’s was under renos, we went to the nearby Burger King. It is important to realize here, that the restaurant of choice for the kids is the one with the best kiddie toys and the biggest play place.
Burger King was busy. The two copies of Burger King’s papers were already taken. Although I was disappointed, I decided to sit and think. I found it very hard to think with all of the traffic coming in and out of the building. Although I don’t think I was eavesdropping, I couldn’t help but overhear some of the conversations around me. The booth directly behind me held two women. One of their little boys was in the play place burning off his french fries. The ladies were talking about their jobs. One girl was reliving a particularly bad customer she had to deal with at Tim Horton’s. He was complaining about the roll up the rim cup he had to return, and the fact that he couldn’t get a large with the tab because they were out of roll up the rim cups. They could only offer him a medium. Judging by the amount of f-bombs the girl dropped, he was disappointed.
The door opened. A couple walked in and at first I was unable to tell which was the male half of the equation. After a few close stares, I realized the longer-haired purple shirt, red pants was the guy, the purple pants, yellow shirt was the girl. Their kids, recognizable as boys after I heard the names Josh and Ben, were quick to head to the big yellow slide.
As they entered the lineup, a trio of scruffy looking men came through the door. They had the look of uneducated folk, and this thought was confirmed by the length of time that it took them to decide what to order off of the meal of the week poster. It took 2 minutes of heated discussion for them to realize that the only thing available on Fridays was the Big Fish sandwich.
I experienced an awkward moment, as I thought a woman from across the restaurant was staring at me. As I glanced her way I realized she wasn’t, just in time for her to see that I was now staring at her. Oops. An older man came to throw out his trash in the garbage can I was sitting beside. He had the largest earlobes I have ever seen.
I started thinking, if I’m thinking this about all of these people, what are they thinking about me? And who cares if they are? That’s when I thought: these people are more than their appearances. They’re more than their bad jobs, weird relationships; more than their educations, their literary abilities, the size of their earlobes. I may never see that side of them. I may never learn their names, play with their kids, or even make eye contact again.
Next time I’m asked about the salt of the earth, I know where I’ll find them.