Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Seeing Orange

Been reading The Adding Machine, a collection of essays by William S. Burroughs.

Some essays are pretty good, most are nothing special, but there was one essay that described a writing exercise, or rather an exercise in paying attention, in observational awareness, that he used during his brief stint as a creative writing teacher at a college in New York City. Which was to pick a color, take a walk, and look for the color. Look for any traces of the color within your field of vision. So if, for instance, you choose orange, you spend the next few minutes or hours, paying attention to things that are colored orange. Seeing orange cars. Seeing orange lights. Seeing orange t-shirts. Bicycles. Flowers. Paper. Billboards. Balloons. etc. etc.

That's what I did today. Well, not the only thing I did. Only did it for like twenty minutes, en route to running my daily errands: post office, bank, store, library, etc. etc.

Thinking maybe I should do an exercise in seeing green, try to materialize some money out of thin air. Yeah, next time, I'll keep you posted.

I go to the post office to buy stamps. I leave, walking through the parking lot, I hear somebody shouting: "Can you push my wheel chair for me?" I keep walking, then realize that there is a woman in a wheel chair on the storefront sidewalk, not wearing orange, nevertheless, she is speaking to me. And I'm not the only person around either, there are other people walking to stores, cutting through the parking lot, but this woman focused on me. Me. She wanted me to push her wheel chair to the post office, the post office I just came from, to buy stamps. How weird is that? I'm hardly saying anything, and she's just talking non-stop, about needing surgery, where she lives, which is just down the street, about her husband being ten years younger than her and having stage three cancer, etc. etc.

I don't know this woman, but I've seen her before, at the library, at the grocery store, I helped her once at the library reach a book at the top shelf, a book about the Dead Sea Scrolls. Intriguing, but honestly the woman is annoying. She talks too loud, in a what I believe to be either a Long Island or New Orleans accent, and she stinks. Sorry, it's true. I tend to avoid her, but I helped her out today. Seeing Orange.

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