They Seem Very Busy
05 Jun, 2014
The woman does not want to be identified.
The woman can make you an iced coffee.
The woman frequently makes me an earl grey
with a side of questions concerning Harry Potter.
She first read Harry Potter as a high school student
back in her homeland, the third major island
of the Philippines’ 7,107 total islands.
“I think every kid was inspired by Harry Potter,
he’s not perfect, he has a lot of flaws,
but the people around him make him strong.”
This management, accounting and law school graduate
has been in the states for a year now
working at her first job of all time
and has observed:
“Things are cleaner over here,
and the people here are on their own always
instead of compounds of families all living together.
Things are very peaceful here,
but people have no time for other people
they seem very busy.”
She would tell me more
but a line has formed,
it is three in the afternoon
and everyone wants
a medium cappuccino
or some other brown dessert drink
that requires rituals & cream.
I go away to become busy
and am reminded of something
Joe Charney described before parting ways:
the ‘zombie grocery store,’
where Joe goes to get his food,
is a place where people go to ignore each other.
“They don’t mumble to themselves,
they pass each other,
but no action or reaction,
statement or thought,” he said.
People pushing their carts around
all demonstrate something he called, “the stare:
looking straight ahead, but not side-to-side.
They are unaware!
I often think that one of them could be stabbed
a little to the right of their field of vision
and they wouldn’t even notice.
Like horse blinders.”
I know what he was talking about,
but luckily here at the Pfister people greet each other
like in the elevator where I am asked,
“Hey, where’s your typewriter?”
And I say, “It’s heavy, I can’t lug it with me everywhere I go.”
“But heavy things are good for your muscles.”
“That’s true, but you see I have snake arms.”
I roll up my sleeve and expose my thin, straight arm.
The elevator rider laughs,
“Snake arms! I like that. I myself would call them ‘buggy whips.’”
Now there’s a term that is at least as old as the hotel,
and pre virtual fake reality network friendships.
When horses wearing blinders
clomped down Wisconsin Avenue en masse.
I go back to the café and the line is finally gone.
I ask if I can take a picture of her tattoo,
and she says sure, it is not her face
though it has an eye of Horace
to represent restoration—
not bad luck
like some people think.
I think it’s pretty,
she got it here in the states
since in the Philippines it would be too controversial.
She tells me that both “The Da Vinci Code” author Dan Brown
and boy band “One Direction,”
have been banned from the country
she hopes one day to return to
though she now has a golden snitch
engraved on her arm to represent time flying.