I just came back from a burger and fries dinner from the corner diner in Clinton Hill- a celebratory dinner to end an eventful day. Fridays usually are in my case. This evening, however, was made special, not for the series of events which took place this morning and mid-afternoon, but because I became friends with two very adventurous little girls who remind me of my sister's daughters, the owner of the restaurant, and the audience which surrounded me this evening.
It started with the need to sit at the bar and inadvertenly become, I guess, "that-mysterious-girl-sitting-all-by-herself", in a diner called Mega Bite (or Megabyte?). To be honest, I was not sitting there for any sort of attention, but because I was nearly starving to death, and I learned from the last time I sat a classical diner that people who sit at the bar get served first. Think about it, cops sit at diner bars for their meals because they simply need to move on quickly, right? Case-in-point? Sit at the bar = get served first.
In any case, I ordered the (megabyte) cheeseburger and fries, and as I was waiting for my meal a guy standing to my left ordered a vanilla shake to go. He then asked if he could have the dregs of the shake in the mixing tin next to the blender. The owner of the restaurant (George was it?), poured the remnants into a shot glass and slid it to the guy who then tipped it over in one swoop. He laughed about the idea of taking a "shake shot", and continued to chuckle on his way out. I asked George, "Dude, did you spike that?". George, confused, asked "What does 'spike' mean?".
This simple, honest, yet humorous question jump-started a stream of other queries- "Do you live close by?", "Are you from New York?", "Where do you work?", etc.- and I was in a chatty mood so of course I carried the conversation until the list of off-the-mind topics ran out and ended when George started taking telephone orders. Busy guy I suppose. Next, these two little girls who had spent the last 15 minutes or so swiveling around in the bar stools next to me, asked what I was doing with the pen and moleskin planner in front of me. I was sketching out a plan of my Mom's garden which I was designing for a March submission. This design is past due, and Mom had given me a hard deadline for the first week of March; by then she will have accumulated the resources, time, and labor for the project. Basically, this entails $500.00 for budget, a few weekends in March to April, and my brother (and his fiance), sister (and her family), and Dad to get it built (haha!). It's going to be a project all right- my first "real" freelance landscape project, pro-bono.
The two little girls watched as I started drawing grass, shrubs, and a garage. One girl (the one in a purple fleece sweater) said, "Hey I know how to draw grass, here this is how you draw it!". She borrowed my pen and started scribbling zig-zags in the space allotted for grass. I smiled as I thought "Clever girl, way to draw in between the lines!". Her and her cousin loved to draw I found, and I tore several sheets out of my planner and let them share it. Over the course of, I want to say 20 minutes, they had drawn flowers, grasses, roots, a backwards Super Man 'S', and pictures of themselves. As I was finishing my coffee, the girl in the purple sweater looked at me with a questioning face, and with an insecure tone said, "Are you going to steal us??".
"Steal, you?" I said with wide eyes. I had no idea what they were talking about. I paused for a minute, and then it hit me.
"What? I'm confused, I don't steal people. I don't think I really know how.". A lady who had been sitting to my right (the girls had moved to my left by then) laughed out loud; she was probably humored by the idea of little old me "Stealing" someone. To be honest, I was not capable of stealing people. I'm too little. In fact, I should be scared of being stolen myself.
The little girl seemed relieved, and started drawing another picture. She then said, "Hey don't look!". Her and her cousin started giggling as they turned away and drew a face with long hair, then took a huge purple marker and said to each other "Yeah, that's what I'm talking about, draw her dress, that's beautiful.", "Oh! Don't forget her glasses.", and "There's a dot on her chin!". They kept looking back, making sure I wasn't watching. The girl with the purple sweater even asked me to close my eyes, and when I finally opened them she said, "Taa Daaah! We drew you a picture!". They held it up for all to see. It was ME! With a long beautiful purple dress, with rectangular glasses, and of course the mole on my chin. This was a warming thing to see, and George, the lady nearby, and the waittress behind the bar smiled at these two charming little girls and the gift they had given.
I told them how much I appreciated my portrait; and after paying my check with a gracious tip to George, the little girls gave me a hug, a high-five, and pranced away. They started dancing the Tango down the center aisle of the Mega Bite Diner, happy that they made a new friend. I said "Thank you, and nice to meet you" to the parents of the little girls, to George, the waitress, and the lady sitting at the bar. After passing the Tango-dancing girls in the center aisle, I stepped outside into the cold air with the drawing in my hand, grinned happily, and tucked it into my bag. This evening, I walked home with a gait lighter than the one I had before entering the Mega Bite Diner.
Perhaps the moral of the story is to genuinely be kind to people, or maybe it's to just simply enjoy the little moments that could change the way you see your life. I, for one, am extremely grateful for the chance to reflect on tonight. Sure, I do still worry about things like money, my career, being a better person, etc.; but I think tonight I'm not going to think about all the rocks and boulders which frame my path, but rather the finer grains of sand and the wild flowers which remain in between.