yesterday i had to get my oil changed on my lunchbreak. it took forever so i was late on the way back, and there's a taco bell kinda close to the jiffy lube. and let's be honest, it doesn't take much to coax me in the door at taco bell. it was kinda packed. they must have been short staffed, because the line for the drivethru was super long (not that i do drivethru, it's just a personal thing) and the line inside was all the way to the door.
there was this one guy who caught my eye almost immediately, probably because he didn't seem annoyed at the wait and he stuck out amongst the shirt-and-tie lunchtime crowd. when there's a backup it's everywhere; he had already ordered and was just waiting for his food, looking at his reciept once in a while to make sure he was still repeating the right number to himself in his head.
his sweater looked old, but he wasn't an old guy. i'm going to guess 28. and his jeans were a little tight and not quite long enough. and his hair was a mess and his teeth were a mess and his lips never really closed to cover them and his eyes were sad and he had a goatee that made him look older (and sadder somehow). but he wasn't annoyed, he waited patiently near the counter where they call the numbers, and kept his eyes on his reciept or the counter or the floor as people bumped into him getting their food.
after i ordered and joined the group waiting for the food, his finally came and he walked briskly, purposefully out the door. and mine came soon enough after that. i don't know what it was about the guy. one time driving around my hometown i saw a portly guy smiling to himself in sweatpants walking down the road and i almost lost it. some people seem way more human than others. does that make sense?
like when you see a guy eating alone in a restaurant. there have been studies on this. most people will sit as close to the corner as they can and face the room, looking around after each bite. google it. it's one of the few things i remember from all those psychology courses i took (just kidding mom and dad i remember everything). but some people do it almost aggressively, like they're on the lookout for someone who's going to come and try to take their food. it's real evolutionary hunter/gatherer shit. like how premature babies know how to swim when they're born but soon forget. google that too. this is a free-for-all of facts. (they can also hold their entire body weights up with their fingers and toes on a clothesline. who does this kind of stuff to premature babies i don't know, but i would probably like to have a beer with them.)
but some other people eat alone sheepishly. you have seen someone eat like this in a restaurant. i guess what i'm getting at is that's how this guy waited for his food. and i never heard him talk, but i bet he had a very soft voice. someone was probably mean to him in high school.
anyway. it was raining out yesterday. not very hard, but hard enough that you didn't really want to stand around outside. as i'm pulling out of taco bell i see him riding back in on a ten-speed bicycle. the look on his face said they got his order wrong and he was probably going to wait in line again to get it right. god, it just fucking killed me. and i haven't been able to stop thinking about it for over 24 hours.