We all do things that no one knows we do.
On occasional Tuesdays, if you can’t find me, I might be in the parking lot in front of the grocery store, down from the bookstore, next to McDonald’s.
I’ve always loved chicken McNuggets. Crispy on the outside….soft and steamy on the inside. Protein. Pure. No sauce.
I sit in the parking lot. The car is on. I listen to NPR. I check my phone. Look up odd things I haven’t had time for before. I savor my McNuggets. I am in a world where no one can get to me.
And I look around.
The cars. One with an old bobblehead of George Bush in the back window.
One from Arkansas with a bumper sticker, “Blue girl. Red state.”
One without hub caps. One with an old radio antenna. One with a seat belt hanging from the rear door.
To my left, a woman is eating. Reading a magazine I can’t quite make out. She doesn’t notice me. We’re in silent cahoots. But she doesn’t know.
When I sit in the parking lot, I am safe.
A woman walks by. A woman I sense I’ve known before. Blue loafers, sweater set, capri pants with shells on them. Like she flew in from Connecticut. Told her husband sitting at home in a v neck cashmere sweater that she was going to the store. Without mentioning it was in a different state.
My phone rings. I don’t take the call.
A woman pulls in. Too close to me. She looks over and then backs away. She knows.
From my mobile solitude I see old people shuffling in sensible oxfords. Young tight-stomached men in striped polo shirts. A toddler clutching a grey giraffe.
Sadly I have finished the last McNugget. The news has been replaced by a call-in show on North American birds. My parking mates have traveled on.
I drive to the brown metal trash can by the corner wine store to erase evidence of my parking lot time. Evidence of forbidden food.
No one needs to know about my parking lot time, but me.
No one needs to know.