Michael Thiele is a woodsmith who makes musical instruments and playable furniture. He spends most of his life either in the shop or out on the road buying wood and selling his work at craft shows. In recent years, his travels have begun to inspire his own writing, so he sends me his thoughts.
Feb 1, evening
I did a rough count. Ninety thousand. That’s how many kids came through the door and lined up, snaking around the room and up to the register. Well, I’m probably exaggerating. It was more like 88,294. Teens on a school outing? It’ll be a lot of food. Who’s going to pick up the tab? Not I. The numbers don’t line up.
We’re talking about Jason’s Deli by the way. It’s a great little food chain hatched somewhere in Texas, but I see them in other states these days. When I spot one in some unexpected locale I make it a point to drop in. Great sandwiches and a very decent salad bar. The soups aren’t bad either.
It was a lucky deal this evening. I arrived and ordered just before all those teenies took over. Maybe there weren’t more than about nine hundred. Still, they jammed the place. I needed ear plugs. No luck.
I can’t tell the weights or heights of people at all. That’s a carnival guy trick. But also, I’ve gotten really bad at guessing kids ages any more. These were very likely high school students although none of them looked that old. Been on a college campus lately and looked at the freshmen? They look like high school juniors these days.
I got out just in the nick of time. The sixty five or so kids in line couldn’t stand still. Boys were poking at each other and picking their noses. Girls moved along in small clusters laughing, posturing and talking with their hands. Been there in some past life. Suppose that’s why I wanted to flee. I fled. Good news though. The sandwich and potato salad are great.