We were coming home from Subway today -- home of the famous $5 foot long subs -- and we passed a local Mexican restaurant that had lunchers sitting outdoors on the enclosed patio, enjoying the absolutely beautiful day we're having here in central Indiana. That restaurant is a particularly attractive one in our downtown area, and their patio is very festive and lovely during the warm months, with gaily-colored umbrellas shading the many wrought-iron tables and flowers spilling out of containers. Occasionally, there are mariachi, which is my idea of some of the best music on earth. If you shut your eyes on a hot July evening, listening to the music and the murmur of conversation from a distance, you would swear you could hear the surf washing gently in from the bay on the nearby beach of Barra de Navidad.
However, it is now daytime. And the umbrellas aren't up. And the flowers, in quiet acknowledgement of Mother Nature's surly and vindictive side, are still huddled inside at the nursery. So the midday diners were sitting there, talking on their cell phones, tapping away on their laptops and conversing with their companions were in the full sun, accompanied by playful breeze that stole a napkin off someone's lap and tossed it into the grass.
"I don't like to eat outside," Meelyn said as we sat at the stoplight in front of the restaurant. "It's so hot."
"And the wind messes up your hair," said Aisling, who was scrutinizing her face in a purse-sized mirror, tucking a stray wisp back into place and pursing her lips to make sure her lip gloss was evenly applied.
"And makes your hair stick to your lip gloss," I added, watching her.
"Your napkin blows away...."
"Bugs fly into your food...."
"The sun beats down on your head...."
"Flying pollen makes you sneeze...."
"A bird might poop on you...."
"People at stop lights look over at you and wonder if you really should be eating those apple empanadas..."
We all glanced quickly at one another just as the light turned green.
"Inside," said Meelyn firmly. "That's where we like to eat."
"In the shade," Aisling affirmed.
"Away from prying eyes," I sighed, taking one last longing sniff of the empanada-scented breeze before we rolled away.
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