Essays, Reading, Writing Prompts

Writer’s observation: Reading is FUNdamental

Out to lunch signMy latest writer’s observation assignment was to go to a crowded environment to people-watch and capture the atmosphere of the place. Here’s my attempt:

Hard benches line hall, buzz of machinery – maybe the heat system? – behind locked doors, one woman alone at the end of the bench by the door, checks her Facebook on her phone. Spotted, filthy gray carpet.

Woman gets phone call, talks loud. “Yeah, everything is all about him, it always is.”

Another woman comes down hall, checks the door. It’s locked. We already knew this. She didn’t read the sign.

“Don’t even try,” says the girl on the phone to the girl at the door. “They’re on their little lunch break till one. Must be nice. Wish I had that every day.”

New girl sits on bench next to the girl with the phone. She pulls out her own phone and pretends to have something important to look at. Buzz of machinery through those doors is driving me crazy. Voices down the hall, but I can’t hear their words.

Footsteps, two more ladies, one in hard heels hitting concrete through thin carpet. Bench next to me creaks as they both sit. Buzz, buzz. Marble walls, old and dingy. Was this place ever nice? Silence except that annoying buzz. Ladies, one old, one younger, on the next bench, giggle about something on one of their phones, then silence again. Buzzing.

Elevator dings at end of the hall. Well-dressed man, probably a lawyer, walks by.  Two ladies, one man pass going the opposite direction. They wear business casual over athletic shoes. Probably on their lunch-time walk through the halls.

More elevator noise, a cough down the hall, unwrapping of hard candy. A lady rattles the doors, then reads the sign.

Reading is FUNdamental,” says lady next to me, to her teenage daughter, rolling her eyes because no one reads the sign before trying the door.

Two more women, dressed nice, but wearing athletic shoes, walk by with a purpose, chat about nothing. They’re part of the system, but not us. We sit here on hard benches, awaiting our fates. We are separate, but all the same.

More bench-creaking as people shuffle nervously in, fill the hall. Some line the wall, while others sit down to wait for the one o’clock doors.

By Mandy Webster

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