Lawlor / Nothing good is going on
On a recent crisp Saturday morning, I found myself dropping off my daughter’s car to get the oil changed. I needed to drop it off at 8 a.m. so it would be first in line. My wife said there would be a breakfast place across the street. There was not. Instead there was a group exercise place across the street. I didn’t want to exercise or go to the effort to meet a group that I could exercise with at that hour. I just wanted an egg-and-cheese sandwich on a hard roll. I decided I would get my exercise by walking to my sandwich.
I was a few blocks from the Staples on the circle at Exit 24. I remembered a sandwich place next to Staples and Verizon. I optimistically walked over to get my sandwich. I was wrong. When was the last time I was there?
There was no sandwich shop and nothing was open anyway. Instead of the boat shop that I remembered being there, there was now a liquor store. By “now” I mean sometime in the last 10 to 20 years.
Disappointed, and hungry, I left the Staples/Verizon/liquor store strip mall and started walking back to the garage. I walked around the front by the traffic circle. As I walked around the fence toward the former Syms (which is now a medical building), I looked down at the frozen grass and noticed a lot of small aluminum metal caps. They looked like the caps of those small liquor bottles that you get on planes. A few feet later, I saw the actual liquor bottles — maybe 20 in all — just scattered around the well-manicured frozen grass.
I had plenty of time to kill and my wife and I watch those forensic “CSI” shows on TV, so I started to piece a story together. Obviously, this was a gathering point where Aunt Ellen would say, “Nothing good is going on.” Were these people waiting for vehicles to pick them up for more bad things to happen? My years of passive television watching said yes. There was snow and ice nearby. Cigarette butts were on top of the ice. I concluded since there was snow and frozen grass that most if not all of the liquor bottles and assorted other items were left the night before.
Most of the bottles were vodka bottles. Maybe because it’s harder to smell vodka on your breath? And then I saw, next to a mini bottle of Absolut lemon vodka, a tube of lipstick. Someone was really going all out with their appearance. After all, it was Friday night. The lipstick was very red. It was Maybelline No. 625, called “Are You Red-dy?” Somebody certainly was.
I had plenty of time to kill, so I stood on the edge of the traffic circle and looked up Maybelline No. 625 on my phone and saw that it was a ColorSensational lip color, and I noticed at the bottom of the screen a statement said “frequently bought together.” I scrolled down, hoping that it showed that people who bought the “Are You Red-dy?” also often purchased 12 individual bottles of Ketel One vodka. It did not. People who purchased this particular lipstick purchased other makeup items. I also learned these same people tend to litter, and may or may not engage in risky behavior.
The traffic circle on this brisk Saturday morning reminded me of Bourbon Street in New Orleans on a Sunday morning. Early in the morning while visiting there, I would sometimes watch crews cleaning up the excesses of the night before getting the street ready to do it all again that night. I’m not sure the Fairfield traffic circle was going to repeat another wild night like Friday. I probably would not be out Sunday to check, as my car was finally Red-dy.
Thomas Lawlor lives in Southport with his wife and two daughters. His column appears every other Friday. He can be reached by email at Tlawlor@mcommunica