Plate Hoker

3 10 2008

After the great story-telling of the gnarly fingered bin hoker it’s now time to tell the story of the Plate Hoker.

Jackson and I and another friend were enjoying the last of the long sunny afternoons here, imbibing some wine, marvelling at the turn of the (last) century  architecture, chowing down on some small delectables that go so well with that mid-afternoon peckishness. The early church bell starts to ring, squirrels hop through the trees, birds chirp, babies gurgle, people kiss and make love with their eyes. An old woman shuffles down the road, pulling a child-sized, navy duvet around her shoulders. Her clothes are tattered but clearly had a glamorous past, her hair is tied into a wild knot on her head. She approaches. In German:

‘Can I have some of that?’

A dirty finger quivers over the bread.

Me: ‘Umm, ok.’

A grimy tree root-like finger descends, swooping over the bread basket. It dives down and scoops up the bread.

‘Can I have some of that too?’

The tree root hovers over the potato wedges.

Me: ‘Umm, no, actually.’

The hand moves around like a small UFO over the table. It hovers over the oil dip.

‘Can I have some of that with it too?’

Me: ‘No, actually I think you better go, you see the dog is going to bark at you any minute now’.

The Unidentified Dirty Hand Flying Object moves in, quick as a flash and dips the bread in the oil and balsamic. This tramp has taste.

‘Can I have some of your drink?’

Our dining companion recoils slightly.

The dog barks.

‘You are all so elegantly dressed, it’s so nice to see people looking so elegant.’

We blush, squirm, look uncomfortable. We are only wearing jeans but we’re luckier than her.

The dog barks, the last big spender heiress exits. We turn to each, bemused looks on our faces. But we are used to this , it’s all part of a normal day for us.

We turn to watch her walk down the street, only to see her suddenly lunge at a pair of women dining together; her rooty, speckled hand flies in once more as it’s attracted to a giant clump of Lollo Rosso lettuce that she scoops up in one go and carries off down the street, cradling it to her chest. We laugh, the women stare aghast.

 

This, is Plate Hoking.

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