Stayin’ Alive

I’m sitting in my car parked in the strip mall lot in front of the health food store. A large pickup pulls into the space across the narrow asphalt behind me, adjacent to the movie theater. I’m waiting, impatiently, while the very busy Los Gallitos Restaurant takes 20 minutes to prepare my “to go” burrito.

About ten minutes after the truck occupants enter the movie theater, the vehicle alarm goes off. Honk. . .Honk. . .Honk . . . .

I’m hungry and tired. I do not need to be further annoyed by a vehicle alarm.

I look in my rear view mirror for the truck owner to come out and stop the noise. By now he is ensconced in the soundproof cinema watching movie trailers with a bag of popcorn on his lap.

Honk . . .Honk. . .Honk . . . . After two minutes, another sound mixes with the honks—a flat blasting sound—to create a sort of rumba pattern: honk. . .blast. . .honk. . . .

I absently keep time to the rhythm by tapping my thumbs on the steering wheel.

In my rear view mirror I see my two favorite street people—Hans and Franz—appear on the sidewalk next to the theater. The rumba beat of the vehicle alarm draws them.

They reach the side of the truck and, like children, spontaneously burst into dance. They throw their arms up, pointer fingers to the sky in John Travolta versions of “Saturday Night Fever.”

As they dance and whoop, the sun pauses its descent into the vast Pacific Ocean, bidding farewell to the western hemisphere and signaling mid-morning to Chinese factory workers as they toil to make crap for American consumers.

One final beam travels over the Fort Bragg headlands, intensifying as it moves through the strip mall parking lot to focus an amber spot of light on the unbridled joy of Hans and Franz.

Moments later, the light dims. They stop and resume their walk: Hans with his confident swagger and Franz with his dignified step.

They have banished my annoyance and replaced it with happiness.

[Whenever you need annoyance replaced with happiness, go to:]

6 thoughts on “Stayin’ Alive

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