I need a quick nutritious lunch and that's not available from my cupboard. I have been avoiding the supermarket because I'm tired of the pale winter vegetables shipped from some godforsaken southern hemisphere country. I park in front of a little Vietnamese-Thai cafe in a seedy part of town and I double check my locked car doors.
The health department has forgotten about this place judging by the condition of its bathroom and other dark corners. The owner is a chef extraordinaire but I don't understand her singsong accent so I nod my head and hope she doesn't ask a direct question.
They are tall women and walk with an inbred deliberate grace. They are flawless starting with their blond hair pulled back into little pony-tails, no bangs please, down to their soft, camel-colored leather boots. Their clothes fit them well and it is obvious they do not shop locally. They inspect the place with a practiced eye and talk to each other as if the rest of us are not here. One woman does not understand that we need to get our own water, napkin and silverware and she stands there bewildered and giggling, poor pampered queenie. "I don't know what to do,"she squeals arching her perfect brows and the owner quickly comes to her aid making this all a silly understandable story.
They talk about their children, that is if talking about children means listing their accomplishments, what schools they have graduated from and where they traveled in Europe. I don't like these women and their sloppily misplaced priorities. They should know better.
I am at a wedding shower, one of those horrid women-only parties and we are forced to compete making bridal veils out of toilet paper. A woman approaches me and I recognize her as the wife of a prominent business man, Dave knows her, and she spends most of her time at a local spa tightening the appropriate muscles. She nervously says, "my son went to the same grade school as your son." I asked about the young man, remembering that he and Jason had indeed spent time together and she shrugged her shoulders. "He is teaching philosophy at an east coast college, a small place." Sounds interesting, I say, does he like it? "I don't know," she replied and I don't think she ever considered this issue. "I just don't understand," she continued, "he doesn't seem interested in making money."
Years ago my sister and I shared many confidences and we would walk through affluent neighborhoods spying on the residents and their sleek cars and overly fertilized flower beds. We would talk about the differences in our worlds and I wondered what it would be like to have this life, all these shiny new things. And when I asked that question Amy said, "but do you think they're really happy?"