Outside McDONALD’S Today
Even during the winter, I like to sit on the patio, outside our McDonalds, coffee in hand and just gaze out onto the road, watching the cars go by.
Now, on sunny days, every table is taken outside. This morning, however, was cloudy and cool. Only an older woman, with long, curly red hair pulled back beneath a knitted cap, lounged on one side of the entry doors with her feet up on a chair.
Leaving the guys to read their newspapers indoors, I parked myself at a table on the other side of the doors, ready for my quiet time.
“We’re the pariahs, I guess,” she opened.
I looked over and, in explanation, she raised her cigarette. “Filthy habit,” she said.
“It doesn’t bother me,” I responded. “I was raised in a family of smokers.” I looked away, over at the trees on the other side of the road.
“Really?” she said. “I’ve got four grown kids, but I’m the only smoker in the house. I’m glad of that.”
Clearly, she needed to talk. I took a better look at her. She was in her late 50s for sure, if not older, but very good-looking with a lovely, straight, delicate nose. Her warm, olive, down-filled vest and slim jeans were fine, given the weather, but her high, laced-up leather boots appeared to be fur-lined.
“Are you hiking?” I asked.
“No,” she half-laughed. “But I’m on a journey . . . to find myself. . . or maybe it’s a mid-life crisis.”
She doesn’t know at all where she’s going. She spent the last 2 nights in a car. “I didn’t mind that,” she said, but she’ll stay in motels when they’re handy.
The guys came out and I left her sitting there.
Good luck, Smoking Lady. I hope you find your way.