Phone Tag

There’s a group walking in the parking lot outside the strip mall-deli where I’m having lunch. The group is comprised of an adult woman, three girls of about ten years old, and a boy. The girls are wearing matching pink stocking caps and make-up. Each appears to be talking on a cell phone. They haave to be unbearable, I think. I look to the face of the woman — who’s walking right behind them — and I’m surprised to find no sign of weariness or even a flicker of bemusement. The little boy is a couple of years younger than the girls. He wanders along on the periphery of the group, watching his feet. He balances on the edge of a curb until he trips, and then paces along behind the others, pointedly avoiding the cracks in the pavement. He’s tuned the others out.

Awhile later, the group walks into the deli. They order and find a table. They set their purses down and huddle in together. One of them holds her phone out in front of her. “Bring your cell phones,” she says. The second girl holds her’s up next to the other to compare them. “Mine’s the best. It’s blue.” The cell phones are really phone-shaped candy dispensers. They were only playing cell phone. They walk away, the third girl jogs behind them to catch up. She puts her phone phone up to her ear and says, “Hello?” She’s talking into a green iPod.

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