Miss Lola and I walked the two blocks to join the sandwich throng and.....wait. I held her hand. Tried to keep her contained. Maintain our spot in the queue. Let her wiggle but not annoy the crowd around us. This lasted for..... 38 seconds. "Hi. I'm Lola. I'll be your friend" she stated confidently to the small child holding the hand of his young father a few spots in front of us. I shrug. That's all there is to do. This is her way and I will not stop her for the comfort of others. I occupy myself with my own people watching, looking up the menu on my phone, calculating how far we have moved and how much time we have left to wait. Lola has purloined the child's bubbles and is blowing them while he runs around bursting the little glistening orbs. He laughs. She chatters endlessly. She has discovered his name and that he's hopeless at blowing the bubbles himself but she's determined to teach him how. I make very half hearted attempts to reign her in but the truth is I'm inspired by her. She checks in with me often enough. My gaze meets that of the boys father enough to make sure he's ok with Lola's uninhibited friend making. He isn't entirely but I shrug again and smile.
Behind us in the line is a Korean family. Multigenerational. All of them smiling. No one even remarking on the length of the line up. They are laughing. Talking about their order. And I notice.... The eldest man in the group has plucked a thick piece of grass from a vacant doorway and is weaving it. Slowly and deliberately. A half smile upon his lips.
A fish. He has woven a fish. He quietly hands it to one of the children in his party, disappears for a few moments and returns with another blade of grass. The wait continued. The fish multiply.
At about the halfway point on our inch by inch journey to sandwich nirvana there is a vibrant man in a yellow shirt playing jazz standards on a flute. He enthusiastically speaks to himself between tunes and manages to keep the energy of his show alive by simultaneously being both artist and audience. Lola is captivated. She had found a nickel in the pavement earlier while blowing bubbles with her new best friend. After a good five minutes of summoning up the courage she drops her nickel in his hat. Doubling his earnings for his lunch time show. He plays "Somewhere Over the Rainbow". I sing. Lola dances. The crowd talks amongst themselves. The man weaves fish. Kieran blows bubbles. The line shuffles forward.
The man is working on his fourth or fifth fish. Lola has stopped being bashful about watching and is standing directly in front of him. He continues to smile like Buddha. She looks up into his face earnestly and asks for a fish. When he completes it he hands it to her. His smile broadens. She returns to snatch the bubbles out of the pocket of Kieran's father. I laugh and attempt to scold her utter lack of personal boundaries. God I love this child. This hot afternoon on the sidewalk in Seattle. The wait.
A lot of living happens in the waiting.