Observation: While he works

Another observation. This one was written for a creative writing class I took in the Summer of 2010 with the same professor I have now. This observation subject was “while he/she works.” I was not able to easily watch someone work, so I got Edmund to do something for me so I could observe him. He is such a good sport.

Edmund sits in one of our office chairs at the kitchen table. This particular chair was moved to the kitchen because if you tried to lean over too far in it, you’d tip right over. The small table is covered with detritus from us being away for a week, magazines, cereal boxes, papers, plates; he cleared out some space on the right side of the table. Edmund received some runes as a gift, and he is working to figure them out. He has photocopied instructions in front of him. He gathers the purple marbled shiny stones in his hands and shakes them. The stones make a tinkling cacophony in his cupped hands. He drops the runes directly on the table; they make a slapping sound as they hit the glass top.

Edmund reads aloud from the instructions. He wears one of his Phillies shirts, with some clean shorts; he changed his clothes since we got home, earlier he was wearing jeans that kept sliding down off, for want of a belt. He gets up from the table and walks into the other room, leaving the runes strewn over the table. He comes back with his brown notebook, which has notes from the Norse class he took over the weekend. The notebook is the size of a half sheet of paper, and is perfect bound, it has no spiral or wire binding it.

Edmund leans back in the rolling office chair, it creaks in protest. His arms on the handles, he thumbs through the notebook, mumbling to himself. His right leg is crossed over this left leg. He grabs his pen and holds it so his index finger is on the opposite side from the point and it is clasped at the point with his thumb and three other fingers. He scribbles. He is unshaven. He gets up again, and goes into the other room. This time his notebook is left open and face down on the table, lying on the photocopied instructions and stone runes. He calls out from the other room, asking me about batteries in the camping gear. I answer him, I don’t know if those batteries are good, and he comes back in the kitchen to “help the wife out.” Edmund sits down heavily in the chair, and compares his notebook with the photocopies, and bemoans his note taking.

He is scruffy from a week’s camping, his beard is filling in no shaving for the last week. He has a bug bite on his ankle; it’s a few days old, probably got it when we got there on Wednesday.  His arms are tan, and freckled. The papers make a crackling sound as he compares his notes to the photocopied instructions. He sighs, making a face, and says “Courage”. He scribbles notes, holding the pen between his thumb and pinky finger, onto the photocopies. He reads from his notes, so I will know what happened during his class. The cat comes in and meows for attention, the cat disappears behind my back. He closes the notebook and folds the photocopies back up. He picks up a rune and inspects it. He starts shaking the runes and throws them up in the air to fall on the table. They go further than he expected so he moves a plate so he can see the runes. He looks up the meaning of the runes that landed and slides them to one side of the table and gets up. It’s now time to put away the pizza.