February 3, 2004

Little Devils

The other day I had a very fascinating anthropological lunch hour. I work around the west villiage where it's almost impossible to find a grilled cheese or a run of the mill tuna sandwich, every lunch place is all roasted vegetables and goat cheese with sundried tomatoes.

One such sandwich shop is located right next door to a private school. All the rich little New York kids invade this place around noon. On Monday there was a row of 6th grade girls eating by the window. They all had long brown hair were chattering at a startilingly high pitch, they kept yelling back and forth, saying things like "Is cancer contagious?"
"No, it's not contagioius."
"Aids is contagious."
"No it isn't!"
"But it's a sexually transmitted disease, you can give it to someone else by having sex with them!"
"Yeah, but it isn't contagious, you can't get it from sharing a drink!"

After a few minutes a hunched over girl wearing an oversized pink jacket, carrying a book in hand shuffled in. She put her money up on the counter without saying a word. The man handed her a blueberry muffin and she sat down at the same table as the girls, she remained completely silent and the other girls didn't seem to acknowledge her presence. She opened her book and began to read while absently munching on the muffin.

I noticed that she was reading a Sammy Keyes book. It's a mystery series about a tomboyish 12 year old detective. Unfortunately it's a horribly written series, nothing like the fabulous Harriett the Spy. It was very interesting watching these girls. They are one of our target demographics, we spend all day working on books for these kids, but we never see the kids themselves.

Eventually the girls had to get back to class. They all left except for the odd girl and two others. One of the brown haired girls who had a particularly squeaky voice said "I want another cookie" and she handed her friend a dollar. The other girl went up to the counter. "Here!" she said, flinging the money at the counter man. "You want a cookie?" He asked.
"No, two cookies." she shouted.
"Two, then I need another dollar from you."
"No, I already gave it to you!"
"Before!" The man thought about this for a minute.
"No you didn't," he said, meanwhile the other girl was trying to sneak behind the counter, "hey, get out of there" he exclaimed.
"I did, I did, I put it in there," the first girl said gesturing toward the tip jar. At this point the counterman didn't really know what to do, so he just gave in and let the girl have two cookies. The odd girl finally stopped reading, she tentatively approached one of the brown haired girls. "Hi Melissa," she said, "how are you."
"Hi Jenny," the brown haired girl yelled back quickly turning away and sort of leaning into her friend. The brown haired girls continued to figet around and chatter as their cookies were being heated up in the microwave. The odd girl stood nearby, not saying anything more, just waiting in case someone got the unexpected urge to say something to her. Frankly it was painful to watch.

Although I hate to admit it I can sympathize with this odd girl. I once had a very similar experience at one of lunch meetings for assistants. Occasionally they have workshops on various elements of the company and they serve pizza. After the workshop ended a few assistants stayed on finishing eating. No one was left at my end of the table, so I made a half assed attempt to join the conversation a few girls were having. I knew one of them, so I figured she would at least say hello.

I moved down a few chairs and gave a little half wave. They continued talking as if they didn't see me. I didn't know what to do, so I just sat there, a few seats away silently eating pizza while they chatted. I kept trying to find that little conversational in, but nothing was coming to me. The closest I got was to join their giggiling with a few awkward, uninvited chuckles. They pretended not to hear. We all finished at the same time and I ended up trailing behind them down the hall as I returned to my desk. It's moments like this I miss Sarah Lawrence.

Posted by on February 3, 2004 10:50 PM

What! these are your co-workers acting so childish. I am shocked and astounded. That is really weird that they pretended not to see you or hear you. They are even lamer than the sixth graders. Atleast Melissa acknowledged Jenny's hello. If you ever see them again i suggest going up to them. this time say all the weird things you can think of. make exaggerated gestures. perhaps make cat barfing up hairball noises every now and then. they deserve it!

Posted by: Lea on February 4, 2004 2:52 AM
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