2 years ago
So with the birth of this new Google+ social media tool, it got me thinking about what we used to do to keep in touch in the good old days. This is what I came up with. I hope you can relate and enjoy.
Graham had always enjoyed looking out through his window, the lives of others always seeming so much more interesting than his own. ‘People watching’ was what he had coined it, not realizing that that’s what everyone else called it too. Apparently lots of people do it, “I love people watching” said Cassandra, a girl he had met once on a balcony of some London bar and had never met again. But she always remained in his thoughts and whenever he was convinced that people watching was his phrase, she would always remind him that it wasn’t.
Out the window he continued to stare, not even that ray of sunlight shining onto the keyboard in front of him could shake him to get back to his work. His dissertation was not going to write itself. The silence was suddenly broken by the sound of an opening door against his old carpet and he was back in the room again. “Are you ok in here, do you need anything?” asks his courteous mother, “No, I’m fine thanks”.
“Only nine hundred and thirty five words to go, don’t stop now” says Graham to an empty room void of all action except for that small square glass right in front of him that holds every possibility. “Who’s that I wonder?” he asks himself while looking down onto a black leather jacket being worn by a brutish looking man talking on his phone. “Why’s he walking so slowly, why don’t you hurry up, who are you talking to?”
The man had an angry look on his face, not particularly because he was angry, but because that was just the way he looked. It was as though through years of having that same expression, it had become hard wired onto his face, so that now, even when he was happy, he continued to look angry. There was a scratch at the door; Graham welcomes the company, in comes Sprinter, excited as he is by such trivial and minor things as being let into a room. After a thorough sniffing of the room he finds his spot, right on the giant bean bag that’s got his indent already in it. Graham looks to his window once more. “The man’s gone now”, Sprinter looks up.
“Only eight hundred and two words left to go, man this is taking forever”. Another look out the window will suffice to relax his brain he thinks.
“Cyclists, they think they own the road and they don’t even have licenses. She’s going pretty fast though; wonder how long it takes her to get to Colliers wood from here? Quicker than the bus I guess… School must have finished, there’s three of them now, always eating sweets those school children, no wonder they’re so loud… Wow, who’s that girl? Mate, she is fit, oh, don’t go round that corner, oh, no! ... Man, that’s a big dog; I wouldn’t want to be attacked by that thing, would you defend me Sprinter? Do you think you could take it, huh?’ Sprinter looks up with great anticipation that something might be worth while looking up for, could it be walkies time? “No, I don’t suppose you would, would you?”
“Five hundred and seventy five to go, I wonder if full stops and commas count?” It could be said that if someone had argued that it may be possible for these things to be true that his opinion would however not be accurate”
Five hundred and forty eight words to go now. Graham felt that one of the things he had learned from university was how to add as many words to a sentence as was humanly possible; it was a good skill to have when such large numbers were involved in essay length. The onset of bright flashing colour’s and the loud screaming voice he’d become conditioned to were enough to make him answer his phone in a welcome break from his writing.
“Hey, what’s up Graham?”
“Not a lot, just finishing this paper”, Graham’s attention was once again drifting back to the window.
“Did you speak to Ryan about Saturday?”
“Uh, yeah, that thing in Vauxhall?” he leans forwards to twirl the long piece of wood which serves to open up the blinds covering his favourite world even wider.
“What did he say?”
“About Saturday”, now Graham was noticing an odd contrast. There was no activity in the world in front of him, the people are still, not moving, they’re watching, but watching what?
“About the party, is he coming?' reiterates the voice on the other end of the call.
“I think so, when is it again?”
“Why are they all so still?” Graham says out loud a thought which was only meant for his head.
“why is who still?”
Half talking to himself and half talking to his phone companion, he answers “those people”.
Graham jumps up out of his seat in a frantic motion and puts his hand in between two of the louvre blinds that hang in front of him and spread them to get a better view, “Woah! What’s that? Look at that guy” he says assuming that his friend on the line can see what he is seeing, “He’s crazy!”
In front of Graham, through his window of the world he sees a burly man running down the road as fast as he can. But this man could not be running as fast as he normally could, for he has a bicycle gripped by the handle bars lifted into the air in front of him riding along on the back wheel. Such a thing would normally be so unpractical, but this bike is missing a front wheel, so it seems the only logical solution.
By now Sprinter is up and barking and joining in on the excitement, “yes Sprinter, thrilling isn’t it?”
The man continues to run, pushing through all those people who were quite happy looking onto the occasion a short time ago but are now not too happy to be involved in it, “this guys mental” says Graham down the phone with a big smile on his face.
“Who’s mental, what you going on about Graham?”
“There’s some bloke running down my road with a bike on its back wheel. It hasn’t got a front tyre, he must have taken the wheel off, haha, what a div!”
“Really? Haha, that’s mad.”
“Yeah, he’s…” Graham looks closer, the jacket-leather, the look-burley, “Hey, I saw that guy earlier, I knew he was up to no good, he looked dodgy.”
“You know him?”
“No, he...” Sprinter’s excitement cannot be contained any longer and he lets out a bark that seems to shake the walls, the kind of dog bark that has everything in it, the anticipation, the joy, the frustration in not being told why everyone’s excited, the sense of involvement.
The bark jumps out of the open window over the children playing cops and robbers on the grass outside; over that parked car that’s been there for three weeks and has collected a whole tree’s worth of leaves on the bonnet; over that flattened coke can in the middle of the road that Graham’s been watching and counting how many car wheels roll over it. Over that middle aged business man’s head that’s been there for an hour eating the same sandwich and Graham has been wondering when he’ll finish it. Over that stunned lady on the floor trying to figure out why she just got knocked down by a mad man with a one wheeled bike, over that parking meter right into... “Damn!”
“I think he just saw me”, for as that bark travelled it reached the ear of the infamous, would seem bike thief, and so he gave a quick look up to see the lone figure of Graham standing inside his window frame.
“So, does it matter?”
“Uh, no, I guess not”.
The man was way down the road by now and seems to have eluded whoever, if there ever was, anyone chasing after him.
“What a mess he’s just caused”.
“There’s people lying all over the floor, bins tipped over and everything. Mate, I better go check it out, see if I can help”.
“Alright, no worries. Remember to talk to thingy about Saturday”.
“Ok, see you later”.
Now Graham was worried. Had this man seen him while he stared outwardly onto him, or was it that he was simply turning his head to look to see if someone was chasing him? Surely no one could see Graham up here, I mean, that’s the point of people watching isn’t it? You watch them but they can’t see you. He looks down at Sprinter, his faithful pal “I suppose you wanna come out with me do you?” He shakes his tail, “I’ll take that as a yes then”.
Preparing to leave the safety of his sanctuary he hears his mum call up to his room.
“Graham, have you seen what’s gone on outside?”
“Yeah, I’m coming down now” he says just as he’s reaching to grab the small wooden stick that closes his blinds, but what’s this he now see’s. In front of him, in the near distance, a window, with a person standing in it, looking straight at him, he thinks.
“Is she watching me, or looking out over there?” He moves slowly, pretending he hasn’t noticed her, even so, she wouldn’t even think he was watching her, would she? He closes the blind.
He now felt as though his cover had been truly blown, like his secret identity had been openly revealed to the world, like he was some super hero trying to remain anonymous, only his secret hide out had now been discovered.
“Has she been watching me the whole time? That’s just not right, watching me people watch, and now she’s going to watch me go outside”, he felt invaded to say the least.
“People watching people watchers, how incredibly rude!” he thought.
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