Today, I wanted to make a friend. There was some difficulty. I had heard about this “people–watching” thing, so I figured it might be a good way to start. Maybe, if I see one that I like the look of, we could talk about something. So I packed a lunch, dressed well, and brought a newspaper.
It was sunny out, so there were plenty of people to look at. I went to a busy street, one with lots of shops with people walking in and out of them. There was also a large building, like a bank or a church or something, and there were steps leading up to it. I sat on one of the steps and took out my paper. It wasn’t until then that I realized it was in some other language, and that I couldn’t understand any of it. Even the letters were completely different to anything I’d ever seen. I pretended to read anyway. There were many other people sitting on the steps, and I listened to their conversations while looking at the people walking by.
“I’ve been working on the biceps.”
“Looking good, aren’t they?”
The sun beamed quite strongly and it was nearly impossible to look up above a certain height. Occasionally a car would drive by, slowly.
“…and then I felt like a real bitch, actually, ’cause I didn’t mean to say she was, like, ugly or anything, just that she wasn’t actually Italian, like, do you know what I mean?”
“She was like, sixty or something, anyway.”
Every now and again I’d flick a page in the newspaper, so it looked like I was still reading. These people, their conversations seemed so vapidly flatulent. I began to think that maybe I didn’t want any of them to be my friends.
“Hello? No, you’re breaking up, I can’t really… Hello? Are you still there?”
A pigeon was trying to peck away at a piece of tortilla chip on the ground, but didn’t seem to be getting much nutritional value out of it. The chip remained unchanged. It looked solid as a rock.
“AH FOR FUCK’S SAKE!”
“HOW AM I EVEN SUPPOSED TO EAT THIS?”
The pigeon looked malnourished. It was probably the ugliest damn thing on this whole street. But at least it was persistent. I went and got a coffee across the road, to have with my lunch. When I came back, he was still there. Prancing around in his funny little dance. Pecking away.
When the pigeon finally gave up and left, I realized it had gotten dark. All the people were long gone. Also, someone had taken my newspaper.