The Joke’s on Them

soda shop, 1940s, true story, before WWIIWhen the older man enters the soda shop, Nev ignores him and continues wiping down the counter. The usual customers are teenagers right after school. But it’s 5:30 now, and Nev just wants to finish up his chores and get home.

“Coca Cola, son,” the man says. He must be over 40, and wears a business hat and fedora, carrying a briefcase. Nev fills the glass and takes it over to the bar stool.

They share some incidentals. The man works in the city and takes the train to work every day. The high schooler relates that his mom works two jobs; his dad hasn’t been around since he was 2, so he pitches in when he can.

“That you I see smoking with the Zoot suiters some days near the train station?” the man asks. Continue reading

Worst Valentine’s Gift EVER

Valentine's Day, valentine's candy, romanceWhen Dirk handed it to her, Joyce didn’t know whether to scream or cry.

“Happy Valentine’s,” he said, with a sweet smile on his face.

They’d only been dating two months, but both of them had felt a strong connection, a sense that this romance could lead to something more than kisses and cozy strolls along the Charles River.

But now, this: a soft warm fuzzy gray scarf. Joyce held it out with her index finger and thumb. Continue reading

Doughnut Karma

doughnuts, blogging, “I’m telling you, these are the best doughnuts in town,” my Florida friend claims.

“You know I don’t like doughnuts,” I whine. We haven’t seen each other in several years. Once roomies in college, now decades later Sue lives in FL and I live a thousand miles away. Finally, I find a break from work to visit her for three days. And she wants me to drive with her to a new doughnut shop.

The day is stormy and cool, not what I expect from a Florida winter break. Sue drives slowly and rather erratically in her SUV. 

“Um, are driving rules different here?” I ask, putting my foot on the imaginary break as she pulls a hard right into a parking lot. Continue reading

The Interview

interview, interview room, creative writingWhen the woman on the phone asks for a meeting, I envision a comfortable table, a set of four stiff-backed chairs, a pitcher of ice water with four to six glasses, and a smallish window where some gloomy ray of sunlight strains to show through dusty blinds.

In other words, a setting like most of the interviews I’ve endured these past six months. Continue reading

Missed Perception

Boston, flying to BostonOn one of my hold-my-breath-until-we-land flights a few months ago, I was the last passenger to enter the plane (my normal routine) and sat next to a nice-looking man who barely looked up.

But I looked him up and down, gauging how well the flight would go. Not garrulous, check. Not nervous, check. Not a drinker, check. All good to go. trees, New England, winter

But as I placed my purse under my seat and opened my book, I took offense. Perhaps this man – mid-30s – dismissed me already for being one of those things: a talker or a nervous flier or worse, just an “older woman” who was – dismissible.  Continue reading