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post #197
bio: stu
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9/7/2007
00:47

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Watching Hooters
I work near the Hooters in Midtown, and I've recently discovered that the shitty little concrete park abutting it is a great place to eat lunch. It's concrete, with some benches and three metal tables, shaded by the skyscrapers all around. It's tucked out of the way–no one goes there, and for the most of my four years working a block away, I had never even noticed it.

So every clear day in the last few weeks, I've been taking a book, getting take-out or street food, and going to watch who goes to Hooters on a weekday afternoon.

It's tourists, mostly. Foreigners getting some "local" color. Families from the Midwest. A lot of guys taking their teenage sons. But there's also guys in business suits, a handful of guys taking their girlfriends, and even a couple of all-female groups.

I don't understand this at all. But I never quite understood the appeal of Hooters, regardless. Even if their wings weren't as nasty as they are (the justification used most often for going to Hooters), the sleeziness of the place is rather overwhelming.

Regardless, watching who shows up while I eat is fun. So much so that I didn't notice, the first couple of times, that there has been a man sleeping in a cardboard box in the same corner of the park every time I've gone.

Vagrants in parks are hardly an uncommon sight in NYC, so the sight of a pair of legs sticking out of a cardboard box hardly registered on me. Being in the same spot all the time made me suspect initially that he might be dead, but he shifted and twitched often enough to allay those fears.

And then, today, I took a later lunch than usual. He was there again, and at exactly 2pm, he stood up. He was wearing decent jeans and a clean t-shirt. He put on his shoes, brushed himself off, folded up the cardboard and stuffed it behind a dumpster, and then walked off, fiddling with his iPhone as he went.

I assume he returned to work, refreshed after a nap in a cardboard box outside of Hooters.






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