and now for something completely different…
(originally posted 2/8/2013)
Sandy likes to write. She sits in her house and writes and writes and writes and writes. Then she posts and posts. Obviously she doesn’t post everything she writes, she’s good like that.
She watched a video from Brazil where they have a camera inside an elevator and midway to their destination the people inside are joined by a scary-looking little girl who pops in through a secret panel when the lights go off momentarily. Sort of like Candid Camera stuff except it’s a lot worse on the people being filmed. Some of them literally go to pieces, shrieking and crying, all the while the studio audience is lapping it up. Howling. They can’t get enough of it.
Not Sandy. She’s watching it but she’s not interested in what she’s supposed to be interested in. She likes to watch people alone in the elevator. How they behave. What they do. Of course she’ll laugh like everyone else when the occupant gets the shit scared out of them but the idea she’s left with after watching the program is why there isn’t a show that just shows people when they think they are not ‘in public’. Elevators. Showers. Maybe even camping.
Now that would be a show she would tune in every week for. So she writes about what she thinks that means.
Her other passion is reading. In particular she’s fascinated with the behind-the-scenes stories of successful groups of people. Biographies about a small number of creative types banding together and making something that wasn’t there when they started out. Suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune type stuff. Monty Python. Saturday Night Live. The Rolling Stones. Doesn’t really matter if it’s music or comedy or art, just creative people working together for a cause greater than themselves. I think it would be fair to say that she envies these people more than anyone else she can think of.
If you get more than one in an elevator the number of people doesn’t really matter. Alone they will act one way and whether it’s with another person or a dozen they’ll act another. Now philosophers and sociologists will argue about which behavior actually captures the true essence of the individual but there is no debate which makes better viewing. Sandy tries not to leap to the conclusion that obviously how people act alone is the real litmus test when it comes to who they really are. That’s what everyone thinks and in her experience whenever everyone thinks anything it usually turns out being wrong.
Crowded elevators are like really dull flash mobs. There are usually good reasons for the people to be there, sometimes involving a great amount of effort, but in the end they are all faceless drones doing what they are supposed to be doing. Ants with rhythm. She gets the imagine of an ant in a suit and tie holding a briefcase and quickly writes it down. What the briefcase could be holding is something that typically would lead to a quick paragraph, but not today.
A single person can dance, but alone it’s somehow interesting. Even if they dance poorly, especially if they dance poorly. With a group it’s dull. And by dance, she thinks awkwardly to herself, it could mean anything from actual dancing to picking their nose. For some reason, if they don’t know their being watched it makes everything seem so naughty.
Even naked a flash mob is never naughty.
The books documenting the conversations and interactions of people who later become famous seem naughty. Like the reader is suddenly privy to things that they shouldn’t be. It’s like the people who sit courtside at a basketball game. Sure they can see the game better, but the real treat is being able to catch snippets of conversations between the players themselves during the contest. These books put her courtside.
She’s always courtside when she’s writing at her desk. Courtside when she’s picking her nose alone in an elevator. Courtside in the shower, but even if she uses the loofah in an inappropriate way it’s never naughty. Courtside to the lonely act of writing. She stretches the metaphor and imagines a large empty auditorium. She hears the echoes of the ball as it bounces away from her. The sound getting quicker yet softer as the bounces get smaller. Then it’s quietly rolling. Then silence. Then it hits the empty bleachers a few seconds later. Then silence.
That was a good one, she writes that down.