Friday, December 3, 2010
I sit at the Starbucks on Lexington and Fifty-Something. I'm perched atop a tall chair in the window, facing the street. Long-haired women in long trenchcoats trot by, the spiked heels of their boots punching the wet sidewalk, iPhone 4s pressed to their cheeks. It's after 6:00, so they must all be coming from corporate Disneyland, making tonight's martini plans.
Me, I'm killing time. No martini plans for me. Instead, I'm counting the minutes (and waiting out the drizzle) until I can start walking to the Regal on 42nd Street, where my friend and I are meeting to see "Tangled." No corporate Disneyland in sight, but REAL Disney princesses! This particular friend and I share a love for movies that are intended for people under ten. I sip my tall (I'm broke) low-fat (I'm trying to drop a couple pounds) chai latte and continue to watch the trenchèd ladies, wondering if I'll ever have the ability to drop $300 on the perfect rainy-day khaki trenchcoat or the 25-inch waist to really rock it like it's meant to be rockèd.
A gray scarf sits on the chair beside me. It too watches the Lexington ladies, sans tall chai latte.
I thought it belonged to someone who was sitting there but in the bathroom, but in the fifteen minutes since I'd been people-watching, no one had returned to claim it and the seat. It looks soft. I reach out to touch it, and in the process of picking it up I try to make it look like I'm looking for a nametag or anything to alert me as to who might own it or why it was left there. Just in case anyone is watching me and thinking me weird for checking out an abandoned scarf that may very well have the bedbugs.
Oh, this is definitely cashmere. Like really nice cashmere. The fabric is light enough to trick my fingers into thinking I'm holding nothing at all. The gray isn't actually gray at all, it's a combination of browns and pinks and blues. My hands trail down the scarf to find three fingertip-sized holes which, admittedly, make the scarf far less perfect, but still gorgeous.
And belonging to no one.
I return the scarf to the back of the chair and my hands to my tall low-fat chai latte. Who could have left it? An Italian tourist, who stopped in for a double espresso and in her rush to return to the city streets, forgot it on the chair? A college student, who is halfway to her $700 per month Astoria two-bedroom by now and won't even remember neglecting the scarf until she's home sweet home? A posh elderly woman, who won't even care because she owns thirty scarves just like it and this one has holes anyway?
Chai latte in hand, I reach for my backpack and tear it open. It's stuffed full with a black shirt, black dress pants, a thick apron and shoes, all part of my waiter gear. The scarf joins them as I push it down, quickly so that no one notices that I just lifted a lost and found scarf from a random chair at a random Starbucks. How weird and poor they'd think me. Zipping up the backpack, I kill the last of my chai latte.