B&N observation

I need to practice my writing skills. Forget grammar, I know that will probably not get better in my lifetime, but details I think I can hone. I need to become more observant. I need to sharpen my surveying skills. I need to get better with description and characteristics. I’ll do it for you. You get the benefits or annoyance (as you will) of this practice. Let’s start now.

I’m in Barnes and Noble café. I walked in and grabbed a table meant for four. Selfish, but it’s in a corner. I have a view of the entire café, the magazine rack, the front door and the up escalator. I’m a little fly on the wall. Now, lets see if the fly can pick things up.

A boy, probably in his mid 20s, sits at a table for two alone. He scoped the scene before he sat down, went to the magazine rack and picked up a U.S. Weekly, came back and sat down. He slouches like a man, his butt scooted to the front of the chair, his back against the back. This leaves a gap between the lower back of the chair and the small of his back. His shoulders are hunched in this position. The first thing he did when he sat was place his cell phone on the table. It’s silver; it’s not a flip phone. He began reading his magazine with occasional glances around. It’s like he’s uneasy being here. It’s almost as if he’s waiting for someone. After about 5 minutes he gets up, leaves the magazine, takes his cell phone and buys a bottle of water and returns to read. It’s 8:13 on a Friday night. He wears black Nike flip-flops, Khaki cargo shorts, a blue gingham button down and a thick silver watch on his left hand. He’s cute, a semi-ex-frat boy. He’s a little stocky, but not fat and not a beefcake. He’s svelte, I guess. His head is round which is accentuated by his haircut which seems to hug and lay against the curve and shape of his head. His hair is a very light brown. It’s parted on the left side. It’s straight and clean. It is obviously cut often. I can’t see his eyes because his back is to me, but I would guess they are blue. They would have to be to finish off his Adonis-like look. I would bet that he is a Golden Boy. It’s 8:42. He is halfway finished with his magazine. He is still alone. He glances around from time to time. When he sits with both feet on the ground he shakes one leg, his right one, the ball of his foot on the floor, his leg bouncing up and down. I do this too. He shifts from time to time, usually when he is looking around. He never seems quite comfortable. He never seems engrossed in his magazine. It’s 8:47 and another frat boy in long khakis and long-sleeve navy blue knit shirt comes in. He has dark brown hair cut short. The first thing he says is “sorry” as he reaches out his hand and they give each other a slap handshake. He says again “Sorry about that.” The Adonis gets up and they leave. I never see his eyes and he doesn’t know he’s been my subject.

I realize now that my difficulty with painting or drawing was probably not in the skill and talent itself, but in the details. I could never translate the nuances of an object, especially a face with all its important dimensions. I could never get the calculations right. It was the understanding of proportions, the shape of things, that I have trouble relating. It’s why I like poetry so much. I could pack a punch in a few words, but give me a whole page to describe something and I am at a loss. That’s what practice is for. That’s what you’re for. And thanks.

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