I went for a short walk at noon, mind filled with advice from famed writers, most notably Ernest Hemingway:
‘As a writer you should not judge. You should understand. … You should be able to go into a room and when you come out know everything that you saw there and not only that. If that room gave you any feeling you should know exactly what it was that gave you that feeling. Try that for practice.’
The elevator stopped on the 17th floor, where a cauliflower-haired woman was waiting. She looked at the floor indicator by the ceiling, peered inside the lift, and made a few hand gestures before squirrelling in and inspecting the floor buttons. ‘Yes, that’s right…yes…pineapple,’ she said, and returned to tapping compulsively on her phone. The lift went down a few more floors. She continued her tapping, almost rhythmic but not quite, right index finger pressing into the screen. She sighed, paused, and turned to look at me. I was already looking at her, and she quickly turned back to her phone before checking which floor we were at. Nope, she couldn’t get out just yet. She shook her head and sighed again.
Then there was a man with droopy eyelids in an oversized white T-shirt, plodding across the plaza, head down, with uneven gait.
Then there was the boy at the supermarket- perhaps 5 or 6 – tenderly grasping a turtle soft toy by its neck as he waited in line with his sunglass-touting mother.
And then there was the amateur scrabbling for her notebook, awestruck at the wealth of characters around her that she had neglected for so many years. Such is the ignorance of youth.