— Good Ol’ Dad—-
Frank DeWitt is expected home for supper with his kids.
His young daughter rings him on his 2002 Nextel model cell phone which is slid snugly in the back pocket of his high rise Levi’s, fastened unfashionably above his hips.
He is bombarded with indecision, “double stack or spicy chicken filet?”
He paces at the front of the counter of the Wendy’s in Reitz Union, looking around observantly as he presses the phone against his left ear.
There’s a cluster of college kids a third his age littered behind him, sipping Pepsi’s as they swap gossip and wait to be asked “How can I help you?” by the geeky kid in the purple Wendy’s shirt.
A full moon of pale flesh glows bald on the top of his head, shrouded by a hedge of hair, as gray as a thundercloud.
He sports a tourist’s tee shirt from “Guam,” with fish and nautical designs, tucked neatly into his 90’s denim.
I watch him as he ferociously devours a handful of fries, which he plucks like carrots from the bright yellow carton. He is a man of simple taste. He went with a basic hamburger, dressed with lettuce, tomato, and mayo.
He woofs down the burger ravenously, this may be the only meal he’s had all day.
A long pull from his Pepsi and a fistful of fries, he has to get home soon.
He wears “dad,” socks. Thick white cotton pulled up mid calf, with paint spotted New Balance’s, broken in with the veins of age.
His circle spectacles bob at the end of his nose as he noshes away at his beef.
What will his kids eat for dinner?
As he finishes, he heads back up to the counter and orders a kids’ meal to bring home. It seems he has someone waiting for him there.
— Alabama —
There are bright pink and green paisley’s printed on her folders. Each one labeled for the appropriate class. “LIT 4331,” this one reads.
I look closer to confirm it and my suspicions are correct. Even her school supplies bare the “Vera Bradley,” label. They’re a close match to her gym bag, glasses pouch, and hand bag.
She is that girl.
We all know her, or have had a class with her, worked with her, or maybe, you are her.
Buds of faux pearls sag from her tiny earlobes. Her baby brown hair sits at the tops of her shoulders. Each fine strand, looking as if it has been fed through the mouth of a flat iron one too many times.
Her spring blue polo is meticulously buttoned up to her neck. She is modest.
Perfectly pressed blue jeans cover the laces of her pink Nike’s which match her hat, patched with sorority letters.
She has kindergarten teacher handwriting, with perfectly rounded monkey tails at the end of her “a’s” and “d’s” and bubbly “b’s” and “o’s,” that make her notes look symmetrical and clean, just like her.
A day planner is spread open in front of her, dolled with foofy doodles of glitter pen and girly stickers. I take the utmost delight in squinting to see what decorous things she has planned for her weekend. This snowy white sorority sister with her dainty nose always pointed toward the professors most studiously.
Her ring finger dazzles with the glitz of a small diamond, and a close look at the papers on her desk tells me she is planning a wedding. How wonderful.
Beside her desk sits her purple padded lunch cooler, which I imagine is politely packed with her afternoon munchies. Plump white grapes, baby carrots, and a few squares of graham cracker, all bagged in Ziplocs.
She could easily have been cast to play “Darla,” in the 1994 “Little Rascals,” movie, with her pushed up nose and china doll skin.
She raises her hand frequently to comment, in her sweet Alabamian Southern drawl, about something the professor has said, or a thought she feels is completely original and brilliant. There is no doubt in my mind, as I listen to her country – fried coos, that she is a Southern girl. Proud of her patriotic colors.
—- Make a Move —-
“Girls like cuddling. Try cuddling. But only if she seems comfortable with you.”
The weedy boy next to me, with dark adobe skin, chuckles privately to himself.
My fingers tap away at the chic silver keyboard of the Mac in Norman Hall. I am in the zone with my studies, when suddenly, the kid sitting next to me starts to snicker like a schoolboy at the image on his computer screen.
This piques my curiosity.
He is twiggy and awkward. A droopy gray shirt with a big orange dragon on it hangs from his boney frame. His Bugle Boy’s are spotted with crumbs of Doritos. He does not appear a day older than 14, but I am certain if I asked him, I’d gasp to find out he’s 20.
DC Shoes scuffed up from too many skateboard wipeouts, he slouches lazily in his chair, his beady black eyes are enchanted by the entertainment in front of him.
What is he watching? What could be so captivating to this darling little dweeb?
There is a couple sitting together on a living room sofa on the screen, it appears, and blue captions flashing,
These are the things this budding Gaston will need in order to effectively make a move on a girl while watching a movie on the couch.
Yes, friends. It is true. He has pulled up a video on YouTube entitled, “How to Make a Move on a Girl While Watching a Movie,” and he is spellbound.
It’s not a joke.
I spy on his screen just two feet away, fascinated that this poor kid needs to consult the wisdom of the World Wide Web to build up the bravado to make a smooth move.
And then, to his humble humiliation, a beautiful girl walks into the room where we sit, and immediately upon notice, he straightens up in his seat, collects himself, and quickly clicks the “x” at the corner of the video and pretends he was just checking his e – mail.
He whips his head in my direction, suspicious of my spying.
“I really hope she didn’t see that,” reads in his eyes.
I get back to my paper, and pretend it never happened.