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pina colada boys

Three young men sit beside me on the patio talking about IT in their button down shirts and their semi casual light coloured pants, having a bite after work. All three of them have all manner of grooming very well attended to: the beards are closely clipped, the hair slicked back, hands are immaculate. These men are single, ringless, and smelling like soapy spice. All in their mid twenties I suspect. I smirk to myself, “Next up in conversation will be Trump or hockey” but no. The fellow on the end starts talking about his girlfriend.

“…she lives with her Grandma so…it’s hard for her…not having her parents around…but crazy things she’s learning, man – she can cook. Dude. Her gramma taught her. She can cook for the whole family, crazy shit like that. And she’s a religious girl. You know? So she has more freedom than some other girls but – I respect that. What she believes.”

My ears perk up. When do I get to hear a young man talk about his girlfriend? Never! The other two nod in appreciation.

“A person of quality.” Says the fellow next to him.

“She’s a good girl” says the boy.

“what’s her name?” Says the guy on the end.

“Noori”

“Ah. Like Nora with an I.”

The boyfriend repeats the proper vowel sound, longer, “Noooooori.”

“Ah.”

The waitress interrupts them and takes their order. Various tacos – and they start talking about a guy at work. I become engrossed in updating my Fitbit, my fitness Beachbody App and my accountability partner (obsessed much?) My concentration is broken when I see what my three boys have ordered for drinks. A pitcher of pina colada. Are you kidding me? I nearly burst out laughing. I love it. I love it when people surprise me. Maybe one guy has a pina colada when he’s out with his mother, but all three of them, all three of them together decide on a pitcher of pina colada?! I check to see if there’s some wild drink special. Nope. They just all happen to like this particular drink. Okay.

The tacos come and the guy on the end immediately drops salsa on his nicely pressed pastel coloured button down shirt. He flags the waitress.

“Excuse me, do you mind brining me some Tide Out?”

“Some what?”

“You know for stains. That little stick. Tide out.”

“I’m…right…I’m sorry we – we don’t have anything like that.”

“For spills.”

“Yeah, no.”

He sighs heavily. What kind of restaurant serves salsa with no Tide Out? I am wishing so badly I had some in my purse because his pain is palpable.  He is no longer pristine. There goes his entire evening, salsa hanging on the right side of his chest like a badge of goof.

I like these fellows. I wish I had all afternoon to eavesdrop, but I have to get to my costume fitting. I head down the street to the hotel and up the stairs to the conference room. I’m feeling a bit protective because Nora and I were called into a mother daughter spot. She got a hold, then a day later, I got a hold. Then two days later I was booked and she was still on hold. Four days they held her until releasing her. That’s hard on a kid. I walk through the door and see the girl who got the part. Ah. I text my daughter, “They went with an African American family and stuck me in a different spot as the middle-aged woman with tech issues”. Explains everything.

I try on exactly ten cardigans with various neutral stretch pants and flowing blouses: the middle aged woman uniform. There’s a fine line at this time of life between clothing and pyjamas.

In walks the guy who landed the repair man role. I’ve seen this fellow before. He looks like he’s ridden in on on an appaloosa pony. He’s got a scruffy blonde beard and wild white blue eyes, weathered rosy cheeks and a one eyed scruffy little blonde dog same colour as his beard who comes with him everywhere. Does this guy fill a niche or what? He works all the time and he’s very good.

Our costumer has a bright red orange skirt and bright red orange lipstick to match it perfectly. It’s fabulous. However, what is not fabulous is the fact that she is behind and someone forgot to load in her rack of children’s clothing. There’s a wall lined with African American children, all in a row, waiting to be clothed in H&M. Many video games are playing at once on devices, adorable little heads bent, a line of bobbing afros. I want to squish them squish them squish them they are all so cute. But – no. That would certainly not be welcomed. So, instead I pace along the wardrobe racks with my Fitbit, logging in 3000 steps in three hours. I’m quite pleased with this. I am wearing what normal women wear, apparently. Complete with grey flats. Grey. Flats. The ugliest shoes ever invented. like slipping my feet into two dead fish.

As I rhumba, grapevine and march along the clothing racks, not giving a crap what people think of me because a gal’s got goals people, a gal’s got goals! … I have a little smile on my face thinking about my pina colada boys. The tenderness the boyfriend had in his voice when he said his girlfriend was religious. The fact his friends didn’t tease him about the likelihood that this meant he wasn’t getting laid. The earnestness in which the fellow closest to me wanted to remove a stain. Good young fellows who enjoyed ordering a fruity alcoholic beverage in public without fear of recrimination.

Scruffy dog barks, scruffy man lays out his plaid blanket like a bed for the pup and then proceeds to name drop to me the stars he worked with this year and why he thinks his pilot will get picked up. I nod.

“You work much?” He asks.

“Oh a little”. I say. I could arguably “win” but I don’t play the game. Let Mr Scruffy be the big man today.

Three beautiful leggy girls walk in with astonishing figures. One is chattering excitedly, “I can’t believe I got the part of “Asian girl on the bus” because I never get the Asian girl parts, even though I am Asian, I’m only half Asian, and when they put me with a full Asian family, I’m a foot taller than the father!” The other girl smiles at me, generously inclusive, and says, “Are you on the bus too?” I shrug. “I have no idea. I’m the all purpose middle-aged woman, that’s all I know.” They chuckle at me like their Mom just told a joke. They have no idea they are going to be me tomorrow like I was them just yesterday. With shorter legs.

I head home on the ferry to my own scruffy dog and smile, thinking of all the unexpected people I met today and how beautiful they all are. My daughter calls me excitedly, she’s been invited to a sleepover. Well I guess the four day hold has blown over. Good. I walk laps around the ferry deck until BOOM my Fitbit explodes in fireworks of congratulations: 10,000 steps. How wonderful. And I haven’t even walked the dog.images

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2 comments

  1. Jeany

    This is so apt and sadly relevant to my experience: “I could arguably win,but don’t play the game “. Thank you Lucia. And happy birthday to you too! Jeany

    1. Lucia Frangione

      Thank you dear Jeany. You’re one of the few who CAN wear flats…maybe because the shoes are narrow :) xoxo

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