Today at the park, I was standing on the shaded baseball bleachers browsing my phone. A talkative little girl arrived, holding her mother’s hand. As they passed, I heard the girl yelp “why’s he- he’s not allowed to stand up there!” Mom replied “he’s allowed to stand up there. You aren’t.” I put on my best gracious suitor voice and said “thank you for your permission!” Me and mom laughed. The girl scrunched up her face with frustration.

Tonight, leaving Pizza Hut with my dinner, I set the box down on a chair to check its contents: I’ve been burned before by wrong toppings after the walk home. As I popped the box open, I heard the cashier–one of several who know me by name–behind me, saying “personal, rectangular…” and I turned to laugh at his reading of my inner monologue. But he continued with “garlic knots, bread sticks…” and I realized he was reciting his way through a stock check.

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