Future archaeologists will call this The Age of the Stupid Hat. The Era of the Ball-Cap.
One fat fellow, with the tiniest hat imaginable on his pointy head, thin grey pony-tail poking out the back, and wearing a coat emblazoned with the image of a Mack truck, gave advice to cell phone shoppers in front of the Verizon kiosk.
Another man, an earring with a blue stone dangling in his left ear, and the face of a carp, hustled a young couple on financial matters.
Still another, wearing grey ball-cap, grey sweatshirt, and grey sweatpants, stood, a bottle of water in his hand, waiting for his companion at the ATM. He rocked back and forth like a bored zoo elephant. Suddenly, he grabbed his baggy-pants crotch and yanked it like a Fremont Street nickel slot machine. I watched his eyes to see if they would spin around and give me lucky sevens. Well, at least he was hydrating.
A brother from the east side of town, one shoe untied, and wearing one of those jackets that look like someone just pulled out the lining and decided to wear that instead, made even fewer pretensions about fine tuning his package. His arm was shoved to the elbow into his tan slacks.
A new guy was emptying the trash bins and wiping down the walls in anticipation of Easter weekend. He had a tattoo of a peace sign on his right arm but he was so very painfully thin that the tattoo looked like it had been typed with an 8 point Wing Ding font.
A very clean-cut, athletic looking high school boy walked up to the Piercing Pagoda and had an extended conversation with the red headed clerk. He was so very upright looking that he might have been a devout Christian which made him more dangerous to individual freedoms than every mujahideen in Afghanistan combined, much less the lumbering idiots around him. I watched him closely. I knew the type. Their fathers are military, or cops, or coaches, or insurance salesmen. All severe repression and corks shoved firmly into bung holes. Powder kegs waiting to explode. I hoped he wouldn't try to convert the Easter Bunny.
I decided it was time to leave. Two youngsters in a small Chevy, both wearing the ubiquitous ball-cap, zoomed around me and out of the parking lot, in a vast hurry to get to their life-long careers as mattress salesmen.
Someone with a Pittsburgh phone exchange has been calling me the last two days. They don't leave a message. Because I don't recognize the number I don't answer. Is it one of you?