Creatures of Habit
by Lina Rehal
The birds huddled together in a T formation on wires that crossed over the roadway from one utility pole to another. Resembling a scene out of a Hitchcock movie, these tiny creatures of habit gathered in the same spot on Paradise Road every morning.
Alice glanced up at them quickly as she drove along. Wondering if they would swoop down and surround her car one of these mornings, a shiver ran through her. She laughed out loud and continued her short commute to work.
While she waited for the light to turn green, Alice thought about her feathered friends perched high over the pavement near the Citgo Station at the bend in the road. She wondered how long they stayed there and if they had been there all night.
Did they sleep there? Did the birds think about her and wonder where she might be going at 8 a.m.? Are they there on weekends? Do they look for her on a Saturday? Do they care? Is she a part of their morning ritual like they are a part of hers, or do they not even notice her? Is she just another noisy vehicle interrupting the order of their day?
A man driving a black SUV inched his way out of a side street. He was on his cell phone. Don’t even think of cutting in front of me you slug, Alice thought. Not wanting to become a victim of road rage, she let him go. Why is everyone in such a hurry to get to work? She thought about the birds and the leisurely way they went about their business. Were they laughing at us?
One quick stop at Dunkin Donuts and Alice would be ready for her workday. She was happy the line wasn’t too long. Only the blonde woman who worked at the bank, the clerk from CVS and Mr. Quigley were ahead of her.
Alice didn’t really know Mr. Quigley. He was just someone she ran into five times a week. He always ordered a corn or blueberry muffin for his wife and a donut, usually jelly, for himself.
Four elderly gentlemen occupied the second booth from the door. They were there every morning. One had on a long sleeved flannel shirt, a denim vest and a fishing hat. Another was wearing a quilted plaid flannel shirt. He waved at her. The other two sported baseball caps and Patriot’s jackets. They were talking about a ball game and drinking black coffee. Each one had a half eaten donut in front of him.
The girl behind the counter knew Alice liked her coffee with cream and two sugars and usually ordered a corn muffin.
These people didn’t really know one another, yet they were all part of each other’s morning routine. Alice mulled this over, as she waited her turn.
Like the birds, we’re creatures of habit.
© 2016, Lina Rehal. All rights reserved.
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