Dinosaurs, hanging plants and simplistic Ikea-looking table sets are scattered throughout the 7th & Blair Laughing Planet located on the edge of the Whiteaker neighborhood. The restaurant is curiously busy at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon.
Two middle-aged women dressed in matching beige coats and black boots ask to order ahead of family studying the menu.
“We’re just here to order beers,” said the taller of the women as the shorter woman laughs. Minutes later a transaction is complete and the women are handed two stouts, their glasses full of dark black liquid with a perfect inch of foam lining the rims.
“Spencer, you have to share with your brother,” says a woman to a young boy who does not want to share the toy stegosaurus on his table with his younger brother.
“Here. Want mine?” says a girl from a neighboring table to the two brothers as she offers up the two tyrannosaurus rexes that sat upon her table.
“Farm Boy Tim for Karen?” asks a Laughing Planet employee as he walks around the clustered tables carrying a red smoothie and looking for its owner.
“You know, I’m not sure where I’ll be next,” says a woman to the man sitting across from her at the table in the far corner. “But you know you’ll be fine wherever, right,” answers the man.
Random chatter is overheard from the new customers walking in.
“I like the Laughing Planet on Willamette so much better than this one.”
“What is tempeh?”
“Ohmigod, have you tried the PB&J smoothie?”
“He was supposed to meet me at Max’s and then never showed up. I ended up taking DDS home anyway. But he texted me about tonight, too. So, I don’t know what to do.”
“Wine or beer?”
“Are your grades posted from bio yet? I don’t want to see what I got.”
A man holding a large envelope walks in and navigates through the four people in line to the front counter. “Hi, do you have a board somewhere where I could post some flyers?”
“Yeah, right through there, in front of the restrooms,” answers an employee. The man turns back with a smile and a slight raise of his hand as if signaling “thank you.”
In a table next to the window a group of 3 college age boys are eating and laughing simultaneously together. The tall, brown-haired boy stands up and pushes out his chair before walking toward the bathroom.
“Dude, you think he’ll notice if I snag a bite?” asks the blond-haired boy to his friend in a hooded sweatshirt while pointing to their friend’s abandoned quesadilla. “Nah dude, he’ll never know,” answers the friend.
“Do I have to ask to get water?” whispers a young woman to her friend as they look around the restaurant for an employee.
Someone accidentally pushes their glass off the edge of their table and for a moment all the buzz quieted. Not three seconds later the perpetrator let out a giggle and all crunching and conversation among the restaurant resumed.