There's a nice lady sitting next to me on these concrete steps. She's using my laptop to search her email for the telephone number of a client. She is the type of person who might not like it if she were aware of me using the term 'lady' to describe her - but I use it now, regardless, and with no disrespect. It's 7:21pm, and I'm sitting in the narrow alleyway between a coffee shop and another shop, the wares of which I have difficulty explaining. Several fashion-conscious girls with tall boots and made-up faces have exited this store. There were scarves and accessories involved, which uniquely layered and individualized their wardrobes, setting them apart in certain ways, I'm sure. This store is one source of such items. A pair of long green socks with no feet caught my eye. Green tubes. "Those would keep my calves warm on a chilly night," I thought. Then I remembered that items have prices, and I dismissed them. "Footless socks are another man's purchase," is the adage I add when pondering such purchases.
I'm sitting in the alleyway between a store that carries green footless socks, and a coffee shop that makes it's own delicious bagels. The employee at the coffee shop who was performing the closing rituals was listening to The Dismemberment Plan, though he didn't know it. He's lucky to have friends who make good mix CDs for him. He took my chair and table at closing time, but I assured him that it was not a bother. In fact, I moved the chair and table inside for him, just to prove that my heart had no malice for protocol. The outdoor electrical outlet remained - my laptop is plugged in, and my phone is charging.
If there happened to be rain, which there is not, this would be an excellent place to sit. This small pedestrian walkway is completely covered from front to back. I am sitting in a walkway. This area which I am in is more accurately described as a walkway, rather than an alleyway, as I previously referred to it. When I think of an alleyway, I think of a stream of trash juice, a haphazard stack of cardboard, and a couple of dumpsters. Maybe some greasy five-gallon buckets. No - this is not an alleyway in that sense at all. This is a very nicely maintained covered walkway, and now that my table and chair have been taken inside, I am perched on the top row of a set of three concrete steps.
I'm sitting in a clean, covered pedestrian walkway, and the lady sitting next to me is using my laptop to check her Gmail account. She is using the search function to find a client's telephone number. Her husband is leaning on the wall of the coffee shop, which is now closed, and soon they will be going to the theater to see a play. A few minutes ago, this lady, who has short dyed blond hair, walked by on the sidewalk in front of this walkway, and turned back when she noticed me using a computer. She asked if I was connected to the internet. "Do you have the internet?" I explained that the coffee shop provided wifi, and yes, I was connected quite well. "Yeah, the signal is pretty strong here." She noted that the coffee shop was closed, and at that point I realized that she was looking for a place with a computer that she could use. I told her that she could use my laptop for as long as she needed it - I was plugged in, and on no time schedule whatsoever. It would be no burden. She found the telephone number of her client, and her husband saved it on his phone. She was very grateful, and thought herself very lucky to have found me there, sitting between the bagels and the socks with no feet. This was neither the first nor the last time I have lent my computer to somebody so they could check their email, or find directions. I'm a nice guy. In spite of the fact that I am a horribly unforgivable shower and bagel thief, I try to make up for it by not pissing in anyone's oatmeal.