Silly Grins

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Lunch Lady: In Houston


Hard to imagine such a place...really.

Hell of a woman.  She had an edge. Maybe that edge came from working on the islands, in the refugee camps in South-East Asia. She'd also spent time in Bangkok. And knew how to navigate the Sukhumvit in the days when it was nothing but tuk-tuk, the pre-Skytrain era. She loved that place. Definitely not afraid to ask for a bargain and definitely not afraid to walk out. Tell you like it is. And, after a drink or two, tell you where to put it. Nope, not someone you'd want to upset. 

But Thailand's not exactly the place where she wanted to raise her child. So, for over what must have been a decade, the Land of the Rising Sun was a 'home' of sorts.
After having climbed up the ladder, one rung at a time, jumped through all the hoops, she left her good job in Japan. You'd think she had it made. Heck, maybe she did. But when she finally moved back, the decision to go was for the sake of her daughter.

"Heard she went back. How's she doing?"

"Great. Got a job at a posh high school. The kids all drive cars like you'd find at Pepperdine."

"She must be loving it. Teaching Japanese, right?"

Laughs. "No, working in the cafeteria. She's a lunch lady. Stable work, the pay is surprisingly good, and they provide medical. Kind of an 'elite' school. Kids of engineers, lots of tech people."

"Must be nice."

"Oh, she's not planning on doing that for the duration...just until she can find some better work." 

Pause...sips...sets glass down.

"She's also got a boyfriend."


"Met him in yoga class. Says she really likes him, even though he's Republican..."

"Glad I wasn't drinking anything when you said that. I thought she was ultra-liberal and kind of...."

"Oh. They get along quite well." 
"Ride 'em cowboys. Sounds like she's got it made. The 'man issue' is taken care of, her daughter is in one of the best school districts..."

"But she doesn't like it."


"No. Her mother."

"Why not? Working in such a weal..."

"She says the works not bad if you don't mind kids throwing food at you."

"What?! What do you mean? I thought you said it was an 'elite' school."

"Oh, it is. Lunch ladies just have to be careful when they are in the cafeteria by themselves, and if no one is looking...some of the kids can be quite nasty."

", I can see it."  Looks down at his glass and remembers one of the first times he ever listened to Jarre and realizes that his image of Houston has forever changed...


  1. "Says she really likes him, even though he's Republican..."


    Some of us are not bad. Social liberal, Fiscal conservative myself.

  2. Chris: Couldn't help notice how flexible people can be...specially when they get down to coming up with productive ways of letting off a bit of steam. Never heard how things turned out for Boots and Bangkok...I can only imagine.