(First in a series)
Lunch hour at DIVISION AND HAWTHORNE (near Whitworth) ... the tales we could tell.
12:30-12:57 today, here's what people were up to ...
An attractive young woman in a beige Kia waited at the light on Hawthorne, lolling her arm out the window, admiring her great manicure job.
A bearded, beefy man in a fuchsia Plymouth van pulled up next to her. Their windows were open; their eyes met; she looked away.
Bearded, beefy guy had no chance with her. He was 15 years older than her and besides, he was driving a fuchsia Plymouth van.
If you don't beat the red light on Division, it'll be a one-minute, 15-second wait until you see green again.
One guy, waiting at the light in his purple compact car, spent nearly all that time picking at his fingernails.
A man in a red EWU cap unracked his bike off the 25 bus; the north- and south-bound buses met right at this intersection.
The driver of a white Stone Creek Landscaping truck, hauling a trailer full of equipment, was waiting at the light, eating a saltine cracker and bobbing his head to whatever was on the stereo.
Four cars waiting in line at Jack in the Box.
A woman sat in a red compact car, waiting for her daughter to fill 'er up and finish her cell phone conversation.
"Where ya headed today?"
"Back to Colville."
"Who's she talkin' to on the phone?"
"I don't know. It's none of my business."
She looked at me as if to say, This entire conversation is none of YOUR business.
"Got in some shopping today?"
Shakes her head no. "Doctor's appointment."
"I hope that went well."
She makes a face. "So-so."
"Sorry. Safe trip."
Somebody in line at Jack in the Box was ordering a Teriyaki Chicken Bowl — the Bowl, not the Combo. That would be four dollars and 83 cents. See you at the window.
A Loomis armored truck rumbled by, filled with money, probably on its way to Northpointe stores.
12:43 pm: Stopped and waiting for the light to change, in the two northbound lanes on Division: 34 cars and a school bus.
Time for our Random Music Survey!
Two bearded guys waiting for the light; the stereo is blaring. I stroll into the middle of traffic and surprise them. "What are ya listening to?"
"I don't know." He conferred with his seat mate. It was determined that what they were listening to was "Block of Rock" by SPM.
They laughed at the absurdity of a guy risking his life just to ask a random question.
Meanwhile, a Whitworth student named Chip was scarfing down a Bruchi's sandwich while on his way to his Writing 101 class, which has a Nature and Environment theme. He has a paper due on Friday: 5-6 pages on Al Gore's film, An Inconvenient Truth. "We watched it in class last week," he said.
12:45, right on the money, the two Division buses, northbound and southbound, meet AGAIN at our little intersection. Pretty slick, Mr. Bus Driver!
Truck watch: Cougar Mechanical and USF Reddaway truck pass in opposite directions. The Huge Rig Award for this half-hour goes to a ginormous blue-tarp-wrapped monstrosity rumbling down from Canada: "Melton Trucks." Huge!
More of our Random Music Survey!
She was seriously rocking out and laughing — but she didn't know what she was listening to. "It's 105.7. [confers with seat mate] ... I don't know ... it's that guy ... [sings] 'Baby, I'll remember you forever in heaven.'" She tossed her hair, laughed and drove away. I was left, standing on the double yellow line, traffic hurtling past me in both directions.
Another Whitworth student, this time returning from class called Data Structures.
I didn't even know what SUBJECT that was in. "Computer science," said Katie. "I'm hoping to be a software engineer." I told her to go write some good code; she grinned. I think our souls, just for a moment there, touched. Except for my not being able to, you know, program a DVD player.
More Random Music!
White guy, purple dress shirt, sitting in a big rig with two large antennas on top. He knew what he was listening to: "Reggae ... by Shaggy." He'd just gotten the attention of the woman in the car in front of him — by honking his horn. It sounded just like a rooster crowing.
Eight cars in line now at Jack in the Box. I approach the lady in last place, in the last car. I tap on her window. She's very suspicious -- rolls down her window just a crack.
"And what will you be ordering today?"
Her face brightens. "Oh, the curly fries for sure. And a steak hamburger."
"On your lunch break?"
"No, I'm on my way home. I don't work" — accompanied by a look that suggested maybe she wasn't the only one without meaningful work today