I think I might be stalking someone. Several people, really. It’s not intentional, I swear. Sometimes stalking just happens. Sometimes you just keep running into the same people. Once is baseline, twice is coincidence, but three times begins to get suspicious. This is the third time I’ve seen them.

I’m pretty sure they’re elevator repairmen. About eight of them. Sometimes I eat lunch at a food court, sometimes they eat lunch at the same food court. That’s all it is. They all sit together. They are loud, with their thick Chicago accents. They laugh throughout lunch. Their uniforms are all slightly different – some wear coveralls, others wear t-shirts and pants. Some are dark green, others are lighter green. They swear and give each other a hard time. Their hands are kind of grimy. Not unwashed grimy, but grimy from the kind of dirt that seeps into your skin and can only be removed by long sessions with Lava soap.

I think I want to hang out with them.

Yesterday, as they got up to leave, one of the guys forgot his goggles on the back of his chair so I waved over to his friend to let him know. He was confused, and kept his distance.

“Your buddy,” I yelled, because surely they don’t call each other friends, “Your buddy left his glasses on the chair.” I held my hands up to my eyes like glasses.

“Oh, no! Thanks!” he smiled.

The skinny one’s uniform tells me his name is Dino. He’s Sicilian and looks like a younger, more attractive Steve Buscemi. Someone at the table says that Sicilians aren’t Italian. Dino says, “That’s racist!” and punches him on the arm, laughing.

I can’t explain why I’m so intrigued. I feel like these are guys you can count on. I don’t know anything about elevator repair, but it must be pretty physical work because they all look strong. Even the white-haired guy looks like he could lift a car off of you.

Most are barrel-chested and broad shouldered, but even the smaller guys have that wiry strength about them. They eat three hot dogs each or two burritos and a hamburger, and drink 32 ounce Cokes – manly Chicago appetites that can’t be sated by individual servings. They have tattooed forearms, but deep, crinkly laugh lines around their eyes. Maybe they like their jobs, maybe they hate them. They like each other, that’s clear.

They talk about work, what they did over Labor Day, how the girl at Jamba Juice flirts with them, when their kids are finally going to move out. Then someone eventually looks at his watch, leans back in his chair to stretch and says it’s time to get back to work.

I want to hang out with them.

I don’t think it’s officially stalking if we just happen to eat lunch in the same food court at the same time. I don’t follow them to see where they go after they leave (out the lower level exit). And it’s not like I Google their company and search for job openings (collections manager in Springfield). And even if I did, it only starts treading into creepy territory if I were to take photos of them while they eat. As long as I don’t cross that line, I think I’m fine.




Beer and Smoking in Las Vegas

I really should have done a lot of things last night after returning from a long weekend in Las Vegas with three of my most favorite people on Earth, like grocery shopping, or laundry, or writing recaps, or uploading photos, or sleeping. But instead, I found two Mad Men DVDs waiting in my mailbox, so this simple photo is all I can do for now. More later!