Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Person #1

The most obvious thing about her is her nose - it sticks straight out of her face like a sail on a boat. It is large and pointy but not crooked. It is covered in freckles of varying sizes and tones, probably from years of days at the beach without sunscreen. The nose seems to be the focal point of her face if not her whole body, and at first it is all that I can notice. Then slowly, as if she is coming out of the fog nose first, the rest of her seems to materialize, almost as an afterthought. Her hair is not straight or curly or wavy - it doesn't seem to know what to do with itself, so it just frizzes in odd patterns that give her a mousy and almost unkempt look. However, then I notice the carefully applied color coordinated makeup and think that this must be a woman who cares about her appearance. However, it surprises me that even though her lipstick and eyeshadow seemed to have been so carefully picked out this morning she does not seem to have tried to cover her freckles. Well, maybe she did and just didn't succeed, but maybe it's just because she's used to it. Maybe she even likes them.

The rest of her isn't particularly extraordinary. She slouches a little when she walks, not too terribly, but enough that it's obvious she's no ballerina. She is wearing an ironed white button down shirt and a shapeless brown skirt that covers her legs down to her mid calf. The only spot of color on her are her shoes - bright red ballet flats. They seem like kind of a strange choice - they're shiny and new, but don't seem to go with the rest of her outfit. She's also not particularly tall, and I wonder for a moment why she wouldn't have wanted shoes that give her a bit of a height boost - I can understand not wanting to wear twelve inch stilettos, but a little heel wouldn't hurt. Then again, maybe that's another thing she's gotten used to. She does seem pretty comfortable in her own skin. Her red shoe taps impatiently as the slow cashier counts out her change, and then she picks up her bag - all she bought was a head of lettuce, a pack of gum, and an Us magazine - and then she turns to go, walking nose first out the door.

Person #2

The man is seated in a chair at the library, hunched over a pile of papers. The first thing I notice about him is that he's in constant motion - his right leg is bouncing slightly up and down and he sort of bobs over his papers. He is wearing a blue shirt and sweating in it, and his brown jacket is hanging over the back of the chair. Under the tables, his shoes are scuffed. Despite the fact that he seems so panicked and hot, every single button of the blue shirt is buttoned, all the way up to his neck, making him look kind of like a baker, I think. However, his shoes are untied, and I can't help but wonder if he breathes through his feet - the rest of him looks so uncomfortable. Occasionally he scribbles something on a paper before furiously flipping to the next in the stack. The pen is blue, and when it stops working, he whips out a new one from his chest pocket - there are three there.

When he looks up for a moment it is only to look at the clock (even though he has a watch on), and I only catch a brief glance of his face. But what I can see is that his eyes are almost unusually small, and seem like they don't quite go with the rest of his face. I can't tell what color they are, especially through the lenses of his thin rimmed glasses that seem almost too tight for his head. He bows his head again and I see the beginning of a bald spot on top. But I have to go (or else he'll think I'm weird for staring at him for so long...). The last things I notice are the streaks of gray and the dandruff on his shoulders, and that he is scribbling even faster now on the papers and tears through them.

Place #1

I am freezing, but that's my fault - I made it that way. I'm in my room. The fan is perpetually running at the highest speed, but as if to compensate for the amount of energy this takes the lights are always off. It isn't dark yet, but the lighting isn't great. To my left is a window with an ugly curtain with a pattern of brown and pink butterflies on a turquoise background, but it isn't really a curtain, I guess, it's just an extra bed sheet hung over the pole across the top of the window where the old (real) curtain used to be. Next to the window is a large off white bookshelf, and every shelf but the top one is crammed to overflowing. There are only four books on the top shelf (my carefully chosen favorites).

In front of me there is a large dresser with flower handles. On top of it rest a mirror and a carefully folded blanket and a pile of books. To my right is a desk, also covered in books and half full (or half empty?) cups of water, which catch what little light there is in an interesting way, casting strange shadows across the rest of the desk. The floor is cluttered with clothes and random objects - pipe cleaners, journals, left shoes, to-do lists - and the carpet really is hardly visible.

But the most interesting part of this room are the walls. They, like the room, are also completely cluttered, but this time it's on purpose. One wall is dedicated entirely to quotes, both inspirational and funny, printed out on card stock paper in different colors and taped to the white walls. Another wall has book jackets on it, also carefully taped up, along with bookmarks. There's a cover for A Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Tale of Desperaux, Seasons, and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Then there's the third wall, covered entirely in what can loosely be referred to as accomplishments. There are swim meet ribbons of every color, posters for random plays, and random paintings and drawings. And of course, photographs. The black and white photos are practically wallpaper, there are so many of them. Some are good, some are absolutely terrible. But they are there, photos I took, processed, and printed - pictures of shoes, and flowers, and people, and ceilings all haphazardly taped to the wall.

Place #2

It's very dark.

There're two street lamps in the parking lot, but aside from that there is no other source of light. I am sitting on a bench at night in a park near my house, feeling very alone even though I know my family and the car are about thirty feet directly behind me. The park at night is both creepy and peaceful, threatening and inviting. The playground is mostly made up of giant tires, and had I not already known what they were I never would have been able to tell what they were in this dark. The trees are tall here, maybe as high as a two story building, and lanky but strong. The leaves are vaguely outlined against the sky, but it is hard to make out their exact shapes - it is just black on black. The park would be perfectly silent, were it not for the creek, which rushes quickly by. It is actually quite far ahead of me - maybe fifty meters or so - but it is so loud that I feel like I could reach out and touch it. It hisses and splashes, and I carefully walk up to the fence that boarders it. It looks strangely alive, almost like a giant snake twisting and spitting. The light from the moon hits it in odd patterns at odd places. The reflections of the light hitting the water are strange but beautiful nonetheless. They are confusing, but that is because they are supposed to be - it's an example of something that doesn't have to make sense to be admired and enjoyed, like an interesting photograph, or a poem.

1 comment:

Mr. Patteson said...

"Then slowly, as if she is coming out of the fog nose first, the rest of her seems to materialize, almost as an afterthought."

This is the funniest sentence I have read in some time. I laughed out loud. Yes I know there is an abbreviation for that.

These observations are wonderful. I am impressed but unsurprised.