Monday, July 11, 2011

THE ASPIRING AUTHOR - today's profile of a stranger

I came across a man the other day, nattily – and inappropriately – dressed in a suit, tie and beret. Neurotic at first glance, he had that irritating habit of interrupting a person. Loudly at first, then letting his voice dribble into soft, nonsensical babble because he really had nothing to say except a compulsive need to be addressed.

He needs routine and exactness. Craves it.
He sits in the same bus seat every morning and once he got off because his seat wasn’t available.
He likes corned beef. With pickled onions on white bread buttered with margarine. But he never indulges beyond that feeling of being ‘comfortably full’. 
That wouldn’t do. It’s too much. Too much is too much. 
Just right is exactly what is required. 
He eats fast though, chewing erratically, churning the food through his mouth like a cement mixer.

He’s one of those social hand grenades who isn’t deliberately insensitive, he’s just oblivious. The bubble he lives in doesn’t include the rest of the universe. Which is just fine by him, because he is unaware he is even in a bubble. It’s just how he operates.
If you asked him for help, it’s not that he wouldn’t do it out of spite, but that he wouldn’t do it because of the adjustment it would require to his life. He couldn't do it. He'd be incapable. It doesn't happen though, people don't ask.

He’s one of those people who goes to town hall meetings and always asks a question right at the end of it when everyone is itching to go home. He’s the guy in the front row at the free lectures at the state library, the bloke first in line at a book signing, shamelessly asking the author for a leg-up in the industry. He is an aspiring writer, you see. A tight little sci-fi novel that he’s been working on for eleven years.

He doesn’t know how to dress down. He has a beige pair of casual slacks and a knitted sweater that he changes into when he gets home. He wears loafers at home, but never out in public. You must always wear dress shoes in public. They’re the sign of a thinking man.

If he stopped to consider, he’d perhaps realise he’s lonely, except that he’s not. Everyone he needs is inside his perfect bubble.

This is today's profile of a stranger.

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