Monday, March 23, 2009

“WAG #4: Do You Hear What I Hear?”

The luncheon cafe is filled to capacity so the din is overwhelming. Sound flies around the open room and bounces off the wooden floor till it seems the entire world is conversing in this one spot and I'm caught sitting in the midst of it.

Words, words and more words muffle into the constant roar that is the humanity of the place. I sit quietly munching my chopped salad while I strain to listen. Ever the voyeur, I pick up a word or two as an intense conversation at the table across from me increases. I hear "Oh, man, I just don't know." I imagine a broken love affair being discussed. Or perhaps the road less traveled is about to be taken by one of the two men talking. Come on, just a little louder, I want to hear more.

I go back to my salad, aware of the sounds inside my head as well as those swirling around it. The iceberg lettuce, chopped neatly into small, square pieces, crunches loudly against my teeth while the bits of tomato make much less noise as they squish against my tongue. And avocado pieces meerly melt away against the roof of my mouth. No noise there. Blessed avocado.

That's when ice clanks into the tall plastic glass the server hands you when you place your drink order. First the rumble as the machine prepares to deliver its frozen bits and pieces and then the dull thud as the cubes crash against the sides of a tumbler that someone holds.

The table across from me is empty now, but the din continues. I think the entire room suffers from tinnitus. While silverware and metal trays split the air in the kitchen with the suddeness of a sonic boom, a cash register whines as it spits out its receipts, on after another. Sounds like it's been a good day at the cafe so far.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fantastic scene writing here.. I really enjoyed reading this.

1:27 AM  
Blogger Sharon Donovan said...

Very descriptive!

4:36 AM  
Blogger Iain Martin said...

You do a very good job of paying attention; your description of the sounds "within" show that. I also like the imaginative vector you introduce with the partially heard conversation, something I do almost routinely.

4:59 AM  
Blogger Mickey said...

I liked the setting. You described it so well, things seemed exactly "right."

7:08 AM  
Blogger Christine said...

Hello Sally,

Nice piece, really painted the Cafe picture.


10:25 AM  
Blogger J. M. Strother said...

Very good use of sound. Love the partial conversation. I tend to hear everything - and therefore nothing. That's what it is like for me at a party, the constant din of many conversations so that I end up following none of them. I got a real sense of that from your description of this very busy cafe. Great job!

7:26 PM  
Blogger Lulu said...

Sally, there was so much going on, I was impressed with your ability to sort through it. You made me feel like I was there. I loved the reference to Frost and the tinnitus comment. I almost wrote about how much that colors what many people hear.

Enjoyed it!

10:29 AM  
Blogger Nancy J. Parra said...

Super blog post! I felt like I was there eating salad with you. :)
I enjoy hearing bits of conversation and really like the ice machine bit.

Thanks for the fun read!

11:27 AM  
Blogger Jackie said...

Hey! You went to Corner Bakery without me!

3:24 PM  

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