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Doing lunch



Weaver Street Market in Carrboro on a sunny, weekday afternoon. The people-watching is at a peak:

Under that tree are a mother and a daughter of about 9, having a serious conversation about a girl in class who is tormenting this poor child. The girl won't let her be friends with anyone; she goes and tells them terrible things about her that aren't true. I'm thinking, welcome to womanhood, kiddo. Unfortunately, you are going to meet "girls" like this for the rest of your life. Her mother says to ignore them. Myself, I might tell her to put the head of a Barbie in the girl's desk with a note: "This could happen to you!"

Over there, three college students are obviously studying for a test, sharing coffee, notes and misery. One says he's "gonna bomb so bad my parents are gonna blow." Who could forget staying up all night, uh, studying and still bombing on a test so badly, you actually made up a nonexistent boyfriend when you talked to your mom so she wouldn't ask you about class?

At another table sits a young woman with a baby in her left arm and a toddler in her right, trying to eat a salad with her face. She must hold the toddler because when he's released, he runs after a large dog who seems to be waiting tables here. Although it's a very friendly dog, it's obviously becoming annoyed by the toddler's persistent attempts to feed it dirt. The mom must hold the toddler because when he annoys the dog, it retaliates by licking the baby in the stroller, which bothers the baby and makes her scream, which make the toddler laugh, but is perplexing to the dog.

Cars are stopped for long minutes on Weaver Street because of back-to-back red lights, and the riders mostly gaze longingly at the lawn full of lunchers. The dog/waiter approaches, eager to join in an impromptu dance two little girls are doing there, followed by the dirt-fisted toddler, the crying baby and the still-chewing mother. One of the college students drops his head on his book in defeat and immediately begins to snore.

Weaver Street Market on a sunny weekday. It's been four long months of winter now and like the trees and flowers, we're beginning to come to life.

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