A facebook conversation leads me to this blog entry. We were discussing whether writing at Starbucks is too distracting. There was some talk about rowdy children and teenagers.
I nearly always write in a social setting. I can’t focus if it’s too quiet. Silence is my distraction, my reason to pack up the laptop and call it a night.
Without the noise to stimulate my imagination, my laptop turns into this big white screen that freaks me out and forces me to reject even the most ingenious sentences as “seriously lame.” I’ll sit there – typing, selecting, erasing… sighing in exasperation, typing a new sentence, selecting, rejecting… cursing, and snorting self-deprecatingly – until finally reaching a breaking point that results in me jumping up to get away from the freaky white screen with its annoyingly blinking curser only to knock over the coffee mug, spilling half the hot stuff all down my favorite pair of jeans while the Husky nearby darts out of the room, clearly having decided that I’ve lost my damned mind.
Silence is bad.
So instead, you’ll find me sitting by the river near downtown Fort Worth – lots of noise from Interstate 30 – at Starbucks, IHOP, or occasionally at a college dive in Arlington. I just need a decent backdrop. In my head, it’s just buzz noise to kill the silence. If I’m stuck (writer’s block, grrr!), I can people-watch or pay attention to the way people speak. Either way, it’s a good study and beats freaking out over spilled coffee.
Sometimes, though, after writing a few paragraphs or a few pages, I’ll “come back to the present,” and catch a snippet of conversation out of context. Usually it’s just random junk – pets, kids, work, diets, fashion, whatever.
And then there are those other snippets of conversation. You know what I’m talking about.
I have a folder on my laptop. It’s called “AWKWARD.” Oh, yes. I’m that writer. The one who will jot down whatever weird, awkward thing you just said. And tonight I’m going to share my Top 15:
· "I get hot every time I see him, if he wasn't my preacher... Well, you know."
· "... I found him in the bathroom and he had two tampons shoved up his nose!"
· "Oh, come on. I know she's your sister, but she's way hot. You can see that, right? Have you seen that? What do her tits look like?... Hey, man! Take it easy!"
· (Woman on her cell phone) "...It's not my problem if she didn't want to know. She shouldn't open *that* drawer. Everybody knows what's in *that* drawer... Are you serious? ... Cindy, *that* drawer is where you keep the fuck rag."
· "I spiked it with Vodka... Well, I wanted him to go to sleep -- that damned kid was driving me nuts with his Bob the Builder bullshit."
· "I think I saw my boss fart at my co-worker on purpose."
"How could you tell?"
"He was standing behind her and he bent over like this, strained like he was constipated, and then it smelled really bad."
· (Lots of mad giggling from two teenage girls). "He said it was gonna be great... you know... with an Altoid in his mouth down there. But it burned like crazy!!" (more giggling). "... and I was mad at him so I *shoved one up his butt*!" (roaring with laughter).
· "We were laughing so hard... My sister snorted, and then I snorted, and then Tina snorted, and then I snorted again and a great big wad of snot hit the table and Mom just about died."
· "Excuse me... Um, not to be rude or anything, but you have a rip in your jeans and I'm not sure if it's the fashion or if it's not on purpose, but your flesh is showing. Actually, it's kind of oozing out of your pants and my kid won't stop staring."
· "I don’t know why you get to sit on her lap. I want to sit on her lap. She’s my babysitter, Daddy!”
· “… I don’t know if we’re at that stage in our relationship where we can give each other enemas, honey.”
· (Another woman on her cell phone) “Ewww. That’s disgusting… He really heated it up in the microwave?...” (laughter) “…Well, maybe he won’t blow his wad early again, now that he’s had some relief!”
· “Yes, I know what he means when he talks about his junk.” (Long Pause). “Oh, I thought he was talking about all the stuff he has flying around his room. Why are the kids calling it ‘junk’ nowadays? It’s not ‘junk.’ It’s good stuff. ”
· “It’s not my fault she hasn’t password-locked her computer or that she doesn’t know how to hide her files, or erase her browsing history, or that she leaves her diary all wide-open next to the bed, or that she has a shoebox full of letters in the closet.”
· (Fraternity boy on his cell phone) “… Man, you’re not going to melt into the toilet. Trust me. It’s not physically possible. Don’t make me come pry your sorry ass off the seat, dude.”