Archives for November 22, 2011

Freewrite: Mystery Men

Another Freewrite. The prompt for this one was “Solitude”.

Today I am alone but not alone. I sit in a semi-crowded restaurant and write and no one talks to me. Well, earlier some of my friends were here and they talked to me then, but now I am alone, friendless but not alone. Am I invisible? On the opposite corner is a gentleman, sans computer, who is writing or studying something on his table. He has a half-full beverage in front of him, it looks like an iced tea or lemonade, if only because of the lemons suspended in it. He looks in my direction now and again. I can tell that he sees me. I am not invisible to him. I do not know what he thinks about me, but I can tell that I interest him somehow. Is it because of my set up? My laptop has a sticker that says “meh.” on it. The table is strewn with a coffee mug, and large soda glass, and a powerstrip which provides power for my computer, phone and Kindle. My shirt has a ginormous peace symbol on it. He can’t see my shirt though, it is hidden by the screen of my laptop. He’s thinking again. Is he a writer, too? Or is he just a reader. He seems to be reading now. It’s a very active reading, with a furrowed brow and his hands on his bald, white forehead. He’s wearing a navy blue golf shirt. And thinking, there is a lot of thinking going on. Oh, there he goes with some writing. He could be writing a story, correcting papers, balancing his checkbook, editing a book, planning world domination. I don’t need to know what he is doing, I like a mystery. Sometimes the truth just isn’t as interesting as my fantasy.

For instance, I have a mystery man in my life. I work in Kennebunk, and whenever I am running early or late (but never when I am running right on time) I see him. He hangs out in front of the Kennebunk High School and directs traffic, to help the school busses make a left on Route 35 – otherwise they might have to wait forever. He wears a bright yellow vest, and is one of those force-of-nature-looking people. He is tall enough, with chocolate brown skin, and an easy smile. He has a bit of an attitude, in a good way. Once I saw him leave the intersection, but instead of walking toward the school, he started walking toward one of the houses on the opposite side of the street. Which set me to wondering, who is this guy? Why is he directing traffic in front of the school? Is he doing it as a favor? Was he hired by the town? Did he start doing it because he saw the traffic backing up, and as a concerned citizen he took it on himself to direct traffic? Is this his only job? If that’s the case, is he retired? He looks too young to be retired, is he a writer? This kind of job seems well-fit for a writer, 1-2 hours a day for directing traffic, enough to make some pin money. Is he a concerned parent who works a second or third shift and just directs traffic because it needs to be done? I just don’t know. And the thing is, I have the means to find out who he is. I could just ask Michelle at work and she’d probably know. But the thing is, then my Mystery Man would lose that mystery. And it’s always good to have a little mystery in one’s life.

My Panera mystery man has left the building. He packed up his phone and papers, he walked by me, either to refill his drink or go to the bathroom before he leaves. Or both. Leaving me alone but not alone again. In a room full of people who do not see me. A room of people to whom I’m invisible. People who, when they do notice me, let their eyes move to the left or the right, pretending they can’t or don’t notice me.

What does “Solitude” say to you?