Friday, November 16, 2007

I Ate Lunch at Sonic Today!

Sometimes, it's the little moments you remember the most. When I took my foray into Florida all those years ago, I signed up with a temp company to do odd jobs. There was a hardware store that needed help taking down shelves and whatnot as part of its remodeling effort. As usual on jobs like these, there was a cast of assorted characters: a teacher doing summer work, college kids, people in transition for one reason or another and also just losers like me. I wasn't on my way anywhere beyond that job.

Anyway, I got to talking with this college guy and we hit it off pretty well. I don't remember any details about him other than having a good feeling. So he asks me to come along with him to Pizza Hut for lunch. Even back then eating out was a huge no-no for me. Five bucks at a grocery store goes a looong way further than one freaking meal at a fast food joint. But for him, in his life, it was no big deal and I was deeply ashamed to admit it was not the same for me. And I also didn't want to seem rude by rebuffing a simple invitation to lunch.

As we walked over, I was in a world of hurt. I felt trapped and was cursing myself for spending money unnecessarily. Eating out every day was and is a lifestyle far beyond my means. But I decided to bluff my way through it. I ordered a personal pan pizza which I had never had before but always wanted to try. And even though I felt like a trespasser in a world in which I did not belong, I started to enjoy myself. I ended up having a great time and to this day a personal pan pizza gives me good vibes.

Maybe that was a glimpse of what my life could have been.

Today, I had a similar experience. I always get along well with construction workers. I remember on a roofing job how almost everyone smoked a joint on their breaks. It's just a free and easy feeling I get. So I again violated my rule and hopped in a pick up truck with a regular worker from the site and headed to Sonic. The weather was perfect as we sat there, with the wind and the sun on my face and an Eagles tune on the radio, I suddenly took flight. For a few bittersweet moments of borrowed time, life once more was filled with endless possibilities and dreams and the beauty of living was undeniable.

Maybe that too was a glimpse of what my life could have been...instead of a lifetime spent hiding in shame.

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