Archive | March, 2015

Take the Umbrella

9 Mar

The other day while sitting at the diner, eating some scrambled with little interest, three people sat behind me in a nearby booth. I imagined they were all friends, the male and female on one side, coupled, the other, the third, a woman sitting opposite. All were in their mid-40’s. 

The couple began, seemingly in agreement, telling the woman  she should file bankruptcy, that she would get out of debt quickly, and maybe even have all her student loans forgiven.

I took an uncustomary turn, and listened closely to what I overheard.

The couple seemed very convinced that filing bankruptcy would make their friend’s life easier and the pressure she was feeling would soon be relieved. The couple, having filed bankruptcy before, knew the burden taken off their shoulders, and they strongly advised the woman to consider it.

Are you one of those people who still give advice? If I tell you to stop doing it, you probably won’t stop. I use to give a lot of advice. No one ever took it. No one takes advice. Most of the time, people ask for your advice, but in the end, they’re going to do exactly the opposite of your advice. That’s why I’m not going to tell you to stop giving others advice. 

The woman said, “I can’t file bankruptcy. I got myself into this mess, and I’ll get myself out of it. Besides, it would adversely affect me for years. By that time, I’ll have paid all my bills.”

I asked the waitress to bring me a side of bacon.  The anticipation would be perfect, smelling the bacon coming in on a hot plate, eying the waitress’ extended arm as she brought it out, making room on the table. To my delight there were 5 pieces – generous! usually there’s only the customary three.

I picked up each piece of bacon and bit into it with wanton ferocity. The greasy blast completely changed the paradigm of the scrambled eggs, and it allowed me to tune out what it was, and, by all accounts, I did an admirable job.

When finished I got up, paid for my coffee, and when I caught the eye of the woman, I smiled at her as I passed by. 

I didn’t say, “Good for you, I think it’s admirable what you’re doing. To be accountable for your actions,” nothing like that. 

The hostess asked, “Was everything all right?”

“Yes,” I said, “very good. Loved the bacon.” 

It was raining hard, but it wasn’t when I arrived and entered the diner. This blasted winter. I was without a hat and had forgotten my umbrella in the car. With the wind, the umbrella would be useless. 

 “Are you going to be okay,” said the hostess, “it’s raining so hard. We have an umbrella for our patrons!”

 “But how am I going to get it back to you if I have it with me.” I told her. 

Without hesitation, “Don’t worry,” she said , “I’ll have one of the busboys meet you at your car, and he’ll have another umbrella.” 

 “Okay,” I said, “I’m going.”

I grabbed the umbrella and summoned its explosion in the diner lobby. It was wide, a golfing umbrella of some kind. It held up in the downpour. The busboy met me at my car with a dual umbrella, same kind, different colors.

I said to him, “How did you know it was me, my car?”

“We watched you run out.”

As I was about to pull away, I saw the three people who sat in the booth behind me, running, trying quickly to get to their cars. The guy held his companion about the waist as they made it down the row of parked cars; the diner was busy. The single woman ran out in front of me trying to get to her car and I bucked quickly to hold the break. It looked like she had taken a menu from the diner to shield her hair and face from the rain.