Monday, November 5, 2007

Watch for the quiet ones...

They're probably watching you.

We were talking about this in the writing lab a few weeks ago. I don't remember how we got on the subject (and with such an oddball group, there's no tracing this conversation's origin), but we got to talking about watching people, namely, that we like to do it. It's always interesting.

My colleague agreed. "We're social anthropologists. Or writers. It all boils down to the same thing."

Well, I do scribble. Writing isn't something I've had the nerve to throw myself into without restraint yet. When I do, watch out. 'Cause I've been observing from the outskirts for quite some time now.

My newest lair is the student cafeteria, where I go for part of the time between my morning classes. I think I spend more time there now than when I was a student at the college. It's one of the few places on the largely commuter campus that show signs of student life--laughing, talking, studying. Once, I sat next to a table of four--three were on laptops, and the two I could see were on Facebook. Another time, I sat on the opposite end of the table where nursing students were reviewing for an exam, quizzing each other. Often, I'll see a few tables with only one person seated, quietly absorbed in a novel or a textbook. I wonder if they're lonely, or just lost in the world of someone else's making.

Last week, I sat in the loud corner, and the noise was not from the arcade area. They were friends. And they were loud. If they hadn't been so fascinating, I'd have moved. Their conversation went something like this. I'm not censoring it.

"Dude, why the f--- you move my sh--? You know that's my sh--"

Shortly after,

"Man, what the pluck is that? I said, what the pluck?"

Seriously, I did not censor that. It was like listening to the radio being bleeped as a song plays, but they were doing it in real time and without missing a beat.

What's up with that? Nice church kids afraid of using bad words but wanting the naughty thrill all the same? Was it some sort of hipster type irony? The newest faze to counter a mainstream culture where nothing shocks anymore? Who knows. It could warrant investigation.

I might be able to do something with that later, so I'll file it away.

After all, it came in right handy when I couldn't think what to post for today ;).

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