Friday, July 18, 2008


One Saturday morning, during my sophomore year at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC, I entered a state of deep self-reflection while sitting in Best Diner with Cara and Molly. I went on and on about my home town of Mt. Lebanon because, for whatever reason, that seemed to matter at the time.
When I had finally exhausted Cara and Molly's listening skills, the woman behind us stood up and gently interrupted my soul searching speech. She said that she could not help over hearing, but that she too had grown up in Mt. Lebanon. She told me that she too hated growing up in that homogeneous suburban society, but she somehow managed to survive. She told me about her travels to Africa. And about her current career involving literacy programs. She did not need to tell me that I too would find my niche and figure it out.

Yesterday I was splitting a pizza and salad with my mother in the shade of a chain restaurant in Mt. Lebanon. An old woman walked out on the patio. This woman was wearing a red hat, a purple dress, and a red boa. She explained that she normally wears fancy shoes, but her leg brace kept that from being possible today. She looked around for awhile and said that she was waiting for her friends and she did not know where they were.
While my mother and I put down our glasses of pinot grigio and the waitress brought our receipt, the old woman was still sitting there looking around.
I asked if her friends were coming and she said that now she was waiting for her sister to pick her up to take her to a different restaurant. She explained that her sister had called but that she could not call her back because she did not know how to work her cell phone.
I stood up and found her most recent missed call in her phone book. I pressed send and put the phone up to my ear. Someone on the other line picked up, "Ann? Ann, are you there?" I handed the old woman her phone.
A couple minutes later the old woman was picked up by her sister who appeared to be about ten years younger.
The two old ladies eventually got in the car together, their gray heads peering above the dashboard and steering wheel, and they drove away.
No one needed to tell me that I would not be in a loss of people to hang out with 50 years down the line.

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