I don’t know how or why, but we end up in front of Wawa pretty often. The one right off of the bottom of South Street. And we usually take turns. One person watches the bikes, the other person goes inside for drinks and refreshments. It’s a run of the mill tradition for people that ride bikes, get thirsty and don’t carry bike locks around South Philly with them. And so we partake in it dutifully.
For ten minutes afterwards, we sit in front of Wawa, drinking iced tea, observing life and snickering behind the backs of the everyones that use the Wawa as we do. The usual checkout girl is goth and at least three inches taller than she’s supposed to be, because of her boots. She gets the brunt part of our jokes. But it’s not her specifically, it’s the boots. She might win the Nobel Peace Prize someday, and then we’ll feel like assholes when we’re still laughing at her boots that look like something out of a Kiss-costume catalog. Actually, we should feel like assholes now, but everyone’s got their breaking point, and for us, it’s goth boots behind the cash register of a convenience store. It just don’t make sense.
This day was different though. Goth girl was three inches shorter. Half and half lemonade iced tea was nowhere to be found, and despite the time of year and season called Winter, it was warm outside. Still, we set about our routine. I got first shift, and patiently waited my turn. A cop passed, parked his bike next to us, and went inside to the ATM. A homeless man sifted through some trash, and a unidentified Wawa contractor rolled a hand truck in and out to a lunch meat delivery truck parked on the street. Normal everyday shit. Things I shouldn’t bother to notice.
After my turn inside, one raspberry tea and half a soft pretzel later, we were both outside. Sitting on our bikes, eating, bullshitting, observing. Suddenly, a smile behind our backs, and before we could even protest, a confrontation.
A plain clothes girl, no older than us, blissfully skipping down the street, head scarf tied overhead and around her chin. Draped from her heck, a large charm on a necklace, shaped like a cauldron.
“I am a babushka, a Russian gypsy. And to you both, I grant three wishes,” she said. From the cauldron charm, she pulled a receptacle shaped stick, blew a gaggle of soap bubbles into the sky and merrily skipped away before we could even recognize the situation, what was transpiring or how to react. And before we knew it, she was gone, around the corner, into a wayward alleyway.
Instead of saying, “What the fuck,” we made off with our wishes, pedaled down the street and wasted them away on the night. Then we made a promise to ignore the goth girl’s boots. From now on, we would instead pay attention to the shit we shouldn’t bother to notice, in and around the curbside world we created for ourselves.
It just seemed more productive.