For hours a day, the world is defined by the frame of the workshop windows. They look out over the back parking lot.
We call the desk where we take turns eating lunch the Bayview Cafe.
One day, a hawk landed on the trash hut.
The parking lot also serves the very popular Full Belli Deli. During a busy lunch service, cars might fill the lot, with some double parked in the center, and more circling. It's an overflowing buffet of people watching.
Asshole Dog is a magnificent German shepherd, who rides in his owner's truck. He likes to explode in ferocious barking if anyone walks within 20 feet. When the lot is crowded, unsuspecting walkers come into range quickly. Almost invariably, they are too cool to flinch or jump when the dog's muzzle thrusts out the gap at the top of the window.
Sit Up Guy does not show up every day. He looks like an aging athlete, perhaps a coach now, of something that involves cleats and slamming into each other. He goes in, orders his sandwich, and then comes back out to do crunches on the ground next to his car.
Jumper Dude isn't a deli customer, but he will occasionally flash through during lunch rush to launch his bike off the bank at the edge of the lot.
One afternoon we saw Assault Weapon Kid. A nondescript car pulled in during a not-too-busy time. The first person out was a teenage boy wearing some sort of tactical gear and carrying an assault rifle. I had a moment to wonder if we were going to be on the evening news, but the next people out of the car were a dad-like adult and a younger kid. Everybody went trooping off stage left. We heard no shots or screams. Just another day. Assault Weapon Kid has never reappeared. The weapon itself was probably a super-realistic paintball gun, or they could have just come back from a fun morning at the range.
A guy we dubbed Go Kart Dude was showing up at lunch time almost every day this summer. Last we checked, go karts weren't street legal, but somehow he never got bagged. Of course we don't know whether he has now vanished because of the cooler weather, a seasonal change of residence, or an arrest.
Sometimes the parking lot characters' fame precedes them. Mitt Romney appears to have picked up lunch at the deli on Monday or Tuesday. Back before he was Somebody, Jimmy Fallon used to show up fairly regularly out there during summer visits to his future in-laws. Since we're pretty unhip, other celebs could pass right under our noses unrecognized, but Wolfeboro isn't the magnet for them that it used to be. And then there are the titans of finance and industry whose names are not familiar, who each, from time to time -- sometimes quite a few times -- home in on the beacon of the Full Belli Deli.
Even at our height of popularity, our shop was never a celebrity magnet. At best, one might occasionally drift through so they can say they left no stone unturned. When finished, though, they drop it back on top of us, curiosity satisfied. And I think they tell their friends not to bother.
No hard feelings. People are into what they're into.
The exception is Estelle Parsons, who usually needs us at least once a summer for some sort of bike issue. She and her husband fall into the category of regular customer, since they have a summer home on the lake, and spend at least a couple of weeks there. They have a couple of hybrids. Before that she had a sweet little European mixte from the 1970s. Nothing super exotic, but a nice example of mid-grade riding stock of the period. In her case, her occupation is incidental. She's a born and raised New Englander. More of a native species than a visiting exotic.
I often wonder how people with multiple homes decide to allocate their time among them. I know the Mittster has several. I would always be stressed, trying to make sure that I got enough use out of a place to justify possession. But I spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about stupid shit like fairness and the greater good. Life is actually just a fight to the death, which may be more or less active at any given time. May your luck always hold.