"The Childe...More restless than the swallow in the skies..." -Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage

Monday, August 3, 2009

Some NPR-related thoughts, but first…

…the woman at the public computer station next to me is noisy. More annoying than people who chat on their cell phones while checking Facebook. She sighs, puts fingers to her lips, sighs again, then reads half of a sentence in a whisper. She can't be aware she is making any noise at all. A benevolent God protects such whippersnappers from self awareness.

Now she cocks her head forward, as if the key to understanding the text on her screen is to head-butt it. Fidgety fingers run the length of her necklace chain. Suddenly she huffs. A second later she sits ultra-upright--her back so straight that her butt juts out. No, I’m not staring lustily. Even if she was a knock-out, she'd be too damned much of a sonic nuisance to be attractive. What on earth is she reading on the screen that is causing such urgent audible responses, amplified by constantly shifting body language?

She proceeds through a dance of postures that say, “I am reading something that may significantly affect my life expectancy!” She hums ponderously and then leans over to rifle through her purse. I fantasize about applying foot to chair and sending her careening into the adjacent library classroom.

Confession: the only thing stronger than my annoyance is my curiosity to know what she is reading. It must either be a life insurance policy with terms in dispute, or a recipe for Sheppard's Pie that audaciously suggests substituting mashed yams for potatoes. I must know what she is reading.

I trundle behind her, casually en route to the water fountain. A quick peek establishes only that she is checking e-mail. I’ll never know what she is reading, but it causes her to experience what I can best describe as an epileptic fit of pensiveness. Now she is composing a reply, punctuating each sentence she types with a mulling-induced spasm. If it is in regards to a Sheppard's Pie recipe she disapproves of, I pity the chef who checks his e-mail later.

Before fidgety-whispering woman ruined my evening, I was going to blog about volunteering at the Michigan Radio Tent during the Ann Arbor Art Fair. It was very breezy both days, so few people took the giveaway fans like the one I am holding in the picture. But all things considered, it was a fun volunteer gig, boasting fresh air and live music.

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