Monday, June 13, 2011

Observing the unobserved

My Indie Ink Writing Challenge this week comes from Cab: While somewhere outside, close your eyes for 10 minutes and just listen. Then write about what caught your attention and how you felt about it.

At first, I wished I had had time to do this while at home in the Boston suburbs this past weekend. But having sat outside in Manhattan and really paid attention (I did more than listen; I watched, I listened, I smelled) to what was around me, I was glad to do it in the hustle and bustle of the city.


Streets filled with colors. Yellow, red, blue cars and trucks drive by. A sea of color on Sixth Avenue. The Concrete Jungle isn't all grey. Languages. English. Spanish. Chinese. It no longer phases me. Catches my attention, yes, but no longer surprises me. Smell of street meat. Middle Eastern cuisine. Taco truck. Mixing with the stink of exhaust and summer. I take a deep breath but I don't feel refreshed. My lungs feel polluted. How did I run a half marathon in this city? How will I run a marathon next year? Honking. Brakes. Engines. Subways running beneath the grate under my feet. Talking. Shouting. Cell phone conversations. Aside from a revving truck, these sounds become a quiet hum in the background. Will my hearing be compromised? I'm used to seeing young mothers without wedding bands or engagement rings. This time, I spot a married couple, but she is not wearing a ring. He is. My mind drifts. I'll be wearing a wedding ring. So will my husband. Why do men choose not to wear one? Even more rare, why do women? I pass a store I pass almost every day. It's closed. It's always closed. I don't think I've ever seen it open. Passport photos. Head shots. Why is it always closed? I turn the corner. I mind my own business. Cat calls. I ignore them. Why can men get away with that? I pick up my pace. Hear the thumping of my boots against the pavement. The ruffle of my shirt. I leave the sights, sounds of the city behind me. Enter the office building. Blast of air conditioning. Ding of the elevator. Back to work.

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