The next time you’re in a public place — a coffeehouse, a park, a store — observe the people around you. Pick a person, a couple, or a group, and imagine what their lives might be like. Photographers, artists, poets: show us IMAGINE.
I stopped off at Tops Markets (an East Coast grocery chain) on my way home tonight. Of course, I was buying squirrel treats. I got in line with my bag of peanuts, my bag of wild birdseed and my bag of Critter Crunch. I was waiting to check out when the man behind me said, “I see you have the same problem I do.” I turned to see what he meant, and he said, “Feeding the birds.”
I smiled and said, “And the squirrels.” He then proceeded to tell me that he put his bird feeder on a pole. When I said, “Awwww”, he said, “Oh, they can climb the pole”, and he made hand over hand motions. I smiled, and he said, “But I fixed them. I went out and bought axle grease. I greased the pole, and now they slide down it.”
As I drove out of the parking lot of the store, I saw the man coming out pushing his small cart of groceries. He was an elderly gentleman, and he was slowly making his way to his car. Besides thinking of the pole dancing squirrels at his house, I wondered about his life. He seemed a little lonely to me.
I pictured him going home alone to his small apartment or house and making a meal for himself. I could see him sitting down at his diningroom table and watching the birdfeeder outside his window. He would chuckle as he watched the squirrels keep sliding back down the pole they were determined to climb.
When he finished his meal, he might sit in his recliner and work on a crossword puzzle. Maybe his son would call that evening, and he could tell him about the crazy squirrel lady from the Tops Market. After he finished his puzzle, he’d turn on the TV and watch some Jeopardy. He thought that Alex Trebek was way too smug, but he liked to try to guess the answers. After Jeopardy, he’d check out what was on the Public Broadcasting Station.
He could catch an episode of Antiques Roadshow, and then he’d get ready for bed. He had that Zane Grey novel he’d picked up at the library’s book sale that he wanted to finish. It was always relaxing to curl up with a good book.
Maybe tomorrow he’d go buy a few peanuts for the squirrels. Maybe if they had their own supply of snacks, they’d leave the birds alone. It was worth considering anyway.