Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A Little Story

A Little Story

My son likes to eat at a local fast-food restaurant, and since hamburgers and fries are about the only substantial foods he will touch, I take him there often. One of the workers behind the counter, a disheveled young woman perhaps in her late teens or early 20s, has become accustomed to seeing us there. And since we always order the same thing (my son is a picky eater), she can ring up our order without my having to say a word. "Double burger Big Kids meal, strawberry shake, chicken tenders!" she'll recite when I walk up to the register, before I even open my mouth. "Right" is all I have to say. She even recognizes my voice when we use the drive-though and she can't see me. We've become friendly; we smile and chuckle a bit about the relentless sameness of my son's tastes and the fact that she recognizes me instantly. Occasionally, she even gives me the senior-citizen discount, though I've got quite a ways to go before I've earned it.

There's one odd thing about this...relationship...though. I sometimes see this woman walking down the main street of our neighborhood, out of uniform. She will not make eye contact or acknowledge me in any way. It's as if we are perfect strangers outside of the rigidly assigned roles of restaurant customer and cashier.

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