Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The View From Outside the Pawn Shop

I'm sitting at my favorite organic cafe. The inside is gorgeous--decorated in peaceful, healthy shades of green. But I prefer one of the two outside tables. Not so pretty out there on the sidewalk, but totally worth it. Why, you might ask? Because it's directly across from a pawn shop. It's a book waiting to happen.

A tall pair of bongo drums is prominently displayed in the window. Kind of sad, really. What if that bongo music was the only thing that made someone happy, and they were reduced to hocking them?

As I'm contemplating the tragic, downward spiraling life of the bongo player, one of the restaurant owners comes out and gazes across the street, smiling, because he knows exactly what I am doing. "I once saw a guy carrying in a suit of armor," he said. "I swear to you."

That took some deep thought. "Did he carry it in under his arm?" I tried to picture it.

"It wasn't really full-size," he told me. "For the longest time, I wanted to go in and buy it. I wanted to put it in my bathroom or something."

I tried to imagine my husband's face if I did something like that. "I've got something I need you to bring in from the car," I'd say. I doubt that he'd be surprised. Especially after the lime green Formica table I brought home from the antique store (just a few steps away from the pawn shop, by the way). I'd been on my bike when I saw it, so I had to go back for it. I'm pretty sure I'm the only one in the family who likes it, but I don't care. Green Formica makes me happy.

I started to go back to my tofu wrap when business picked up at the pawn shop. An SUV came zooming up the street and screeched to a halt in the middle of the road. A woman is driving and a man is in the passenger seat. They are having a screaming fight, but I can't tell what they are saying. Finally, the man jumps out of the car and runs into the pawn shop. The woman tries to parallel park, badly. Then she gives up and speeds away.

Hmmmm. Probably her jewelry he was hocking, because she doesn't come back for him.

Great stuff. I'm definitely going back. Maybe I'll go in next time. Put something on layaway, maybe -- some firearms or a suit of armor or something.


Penny said...

By the way? I LOVE that table.

Annie said...

Thanks, Penny!

Tim Haywood said...

In eighth grade, we had an entire unit on formica. We took a field trip to a formica tree farm. It was funny, because this guy, Pete Seck, took home a seedling and grew it under his bedroom window. By the time he was a senior, he could sneak out of his house by climbing down the formica tree.