I like to eat lunch at place that has plastic dinosaur toys for decorations. The dinosaurs and I are eye level. Mostly I eat and read while they stare at me. Sometimes, I stare at them. They appear to be from the 80’s, but this is assumption is based off their gaudy purple and orange coloring and their fading black beady eyes. Really, I have no idea. I’m an almost-thirty-year-old sitting a lunch counter, hoping my chicken really was raised humanely like my menu hinted, wondering what I’m doing with my life and if I have the discipline to get there. I don’t know about dinosaur toys from the 80’s. It’s nice though, eating with them.
I can’t help but connect these dinosaurs to the actual dinosaurs as though the tang-orange tyrannosaurs rex that’s been eyeballing my Thai bowl remembers what it was like stomping through the Miocene age. He’s probably thinking about how pathetic my teeth are. He’s probably more than a little jealous of my opposable thumbs. I like to wonder about what it would be like to march around the Miocene age myself. I’d camp under the protection of drooping leaves and ride a brontosaurs under the stars. I would hike up steep cliffs and peer into pterodactyl nests. I would dive into rainbows of fish, touching the bottom of the silty riverbed with my pruney fingers before pushing up up up for air. Never mind that I am afraid of heights. Never mind all the teeth lurking in the river.
Does petroleum really come from old dinosaurs? Or is that just something people say? Is this dinosaur really made of the remains of its more ferocious self? Someday, millions of years from now when the earth is once again only water, will the new whales dive down to the bottom of the sea and brush their fins against the top of the Coliseum? Will they believe the mossy skeleton of the Coliseum is my skeleton? Will they wonder about me at all?