Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Two Voices

I'm in Borders - again. There are a few others here. One with a computer, another with a girlfriend. I'm in the music section but the volume is turned low and this makes for relaxing background sound.

A guy with a girlfriend is talking and has recently joined our small enclave. He's told his girlfriend he's only here for moral support. (I'm really not sure what this means in the context of a bookstore.) They couldn't find two chairs together so he sits next to me. She has found a seat two chairs over, but that doesn't stop him from talking across the poor girl with the notebook. Wait a minute he's moving.

"Need this chair?" he says to me.

"Oh, no, not at all, help yourself." I say and think: Why does he need to disturb my concentration? Can't he see I'm reading?!! Of course not. He's been busy talking to his girlfriend so hasn't observed that others are trying to read in this bookstore. That's what people do in bookstores.

"I'm sorry to bother you again." I look up from my reading again. "Do you have an extra piece of paper I could have? I noticed you have a pad there." He points to my notepad on the table in front of me.

"Oh, sure, lots." I say "I have lots of paper here. Not a bother at all. Knock yourself out." And I wish he would, so that I can get back to my reading. Dude! Get your own paper! Next he'll ask for my pen. If he does, I'll blow a gasket. This is nuts.

"I'm so sorry, I just need to write a number down. Can I borrow your pen for just a second?" I think I'm going to give him my hard cover book, right over his head.

Can you believe the this? He's asking for my fountain pen! The one I write with everyday. The one with the gold nib that has been ever-so-gently trained by my style of writing. You think I'm going to loan that to you?

"Not a problem, sure." I say, and watch him write hard with my golden nib, it bleeds ink onto the white paper. He's writing her phone number I think. I memorize it so I can call her later and warn her off this relationship.

"Thanks so much, I really, really appreciate it." he says and turns to leave. His girlfriend was talking to him but he has just ignored her. Wait, no, he's turning toward her. He's watching her lips. He's reading her lips. He's deaf.

I'm such a heal.

(This was a writing exercise from the book Writing Alone by Pat Schneider. The object is to write two different voices, one you think and another that's said. It didn't really happen. Really!)