Yesterday, Peggy and I went up to Harford Mall. She went for clothing; I went for a walk. But we met up at dinnertime. I arrived a couple of minutes early at the appointed place, and saw a couple of lovely young women ankling in, all dressed up much better than the average shopper.They ran into a friend and I heard them say they were "early for dinner." Then off they ankled, and somewhere in the celestial distance I distinctly heard Maurice Chevalier crooning "Thank Hea-vohn foh leeeeetle guhls...zey grow up in ze mos' delahtful way!" Peggy came along, happy to have found some tops for autumn home and office wear, and we went to Five Guys Burgers and Fries and had - you got it - burgers and fries for dinner. For those of you who don't have a Five Guys near you, I can only recommend that you a) call the company and beg them to bring a restaurant somewhere near you or b) pack up your family and move to where they are. All the burgers are made up fresh ground beef, and they make each one up to your individual specifications, and the fries are like boardwalk fries (if you're not in Maryland, this refers to a type of French Fries perfected at a place called Thrasher's down at the end of the boardwalk in Ocean City, MD. At that magical location, every night from Memorial Day through Labor Day for as long as any can recall, dozens of young men stood watch over huge vats of bubbling peanut oil, dunking steel baskets of julienned skin-left-on russet potatoes until the fries turn a lovely orangish-golden hue. Once deep-fried, the spuds are treated to shower of salt and scooped into paper cups. The preferred condiment is malt vinegar.)
Burger-ed and fried-up, we stepped out into the steamy August-like night, and there stood a plethora of high school kids, fresh from dinner at the Bonefish Grill. I cleverly deduced that it was a bit early for the senior prom, but Peggy said that it must have been time for the homecoming dance. The young people were striking in that way they have of reminding us of the old maxim that girls are, on average, two years ahead of boys at that age. I see this phenomenon all the time at prom season. The girls will emerge from limousines a half a block long, all sleek and lovely and grown up. Bathed in dewy beauty, they watch with bemusement as their dates tumble out of the car. The young ladies will be adorned in what seem to be Paris originals, and they totter along confidently on high heels. The young men all have a policy of neither owning nor wearing suits or sports jackets, and their freshly-purchased dress shirts and (probably clip-on) ties remind me, unfairly, of guys I see in court, following their attorney's advice to "show up in a shirt and tie!" They rock back and forth, punching each other in the shoulder, and chortling. The young women remain still, and elegant.
I always tell Peggy that the elegant young ladies in these tableaux remind me of Audrey Hepburn, and the young gentlemen, of Smokey Stover. Peggy kindly reminds me that no one knows who the hell I am talking about when I use those names, and suggests that I tell you the girls look like local versions of Charlize Theron and the boys, Bart Simpson-going-to-church.
I love people-watching!