birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Have it your Way

I work in a tiny closet with a window. It is tiny, housing two bookcases which look like a grown up sitting in a child’s chair- large and out of sorts for the room. I have children’s art work on my walls- lots of colorful pictures to entertain me stuck on all the walls and bookshelves. I have a small desk and on my left side is a long table running under my big window for work space with a printer at one end and a phone at the other. I love my window. It looks out on the Burger King parking lot which is counter clockwise at the 11:00 spot to the Captain D’s parking lot and in the distance the McDonald’s parking lot with an alley running between them. I can tell you what time of day it is just by looking at the drive through lines.

Drama happens frequently in my window on the circus ring of fast food joints.

I once watched a dude with a man bun skateboard up to the parking lots and begin going from car to car in the drive through lines. I could not hear him but he was clearly asking for money from these cars which were locked in and could not drive off. I watched as he went from one restaurant to another- never staying long enough to get caught by any personnel at the fast food joint. After 45 minutes, he hopped on his skateboard and leaned his wheels around a corner and was gone. Later that week, I saw him up close and realized that he was in his 40’s and not a young man as he appeared from 3 stories up.

People seem to lose all sense when they have a child that is sick. Lots of people think they can cleverly park in the fast food lots and walk across the street into the Children’s Hospital Emergency Room. Sadly for them, Burger King and Captain D’s does not applaud ingenuity in parking and cars are towed on the hour from these parking lots. It always shocks me because I don’t even walk on the grass because I am a chicken.
Legend has it that one time woman in a tube top and shorts came running from the ER and jumped on the hood of the tow truck when the towman was hooking up her car. And she and the tow truck man had a screaming fight in the parking lot that could be heard on the third floor of the office building that is across the street.

I had to give up the window watching after discovering that my afternoon dose of sunshine was resetting my sleeping clock. I struggled for 3 months with waking up at 3 am and being unable to go back to sleep. Finally I read an article about late afternoon sun and bio-rhythms. I stopped looking out my window in the afternoon. I began slanting my blinds down in the brilliant afternoon sun. I moved my computer so that my back was to the window and I began sleeping through the night again.

I am sure that there are still parents out there that think they can beat the parking system and I wish them luck. It is a scary thing to have to take your child to the Emergency room and a mean world tows your car at the same time.

I have become content to search for my stories in the shadier sides of the street these days.

Never alone. Never.

Everyone Deserves Light