Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Before I figured out that I was a writer, I loved places like airports and train terminals and hospitals and doctor's offices and any other place that gathers people from disparate situations into a common cause. Each location presented a unique opportunity to witness the comings and goings of humanity or to take a snapshot of the human condition. I would often stop and look around me, wondering at all the stories, all the series of events that brought those people to that one location at that particular time. As a writer, I pay even more attention to the way those people carry themselves and the expressions they wear and see if I can move a step beyond wondering into creating.

So when I went to my final urologist appointment today and nearly walked right into a couple of deputies escorting a man in handcuffs and shackles off the elevator, my writer mind went nuts. It's my own damn fault for nearly plowing into the three men. The first deputy to get off the elevator looked right at me and said, "Wait one moment." But mentally I was already halfway to my car, so my body sort of tried to get on the elevator (the other deputy and convict were blocked from my line of site, and two other people had already gotten out, so I figured I was in the clear). I pulled myself up short just in time and managed an apology as I got into the elevator.

Oddly, my first thought as I traveled down to the ground floor was, "He wasn't wearing an orange jumpsuit." My second thought was, "Handcuffs and shackles are much shinier than I thought they would be. Really catch the eye." And then I was just confused as to why the sheriff's office would be escorting anyone in shackles around in an HMO when there was a perfectly functioning general hopsital not twenty feet away, and there aren't any prisons nearby that I can think of to begin with.

I wish I had been paying more attention as I waited to get on the elevator, though. I had just experienced one of the strangest and most notable intersections in one of the locations I note for such possibilities, and my most overwhelming concern was for how stupid I felt for not being aware enough to heed the deputy's request. Still, those few seconds of my day will be ample fuel for the creative fires even if I could've garnered more fuel by not having a Blonde Moment at the time.

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