My name's Dave. I'm working on it.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Remember, Remember, the 11th of November

I have a friend who happens to look at the clock precisely at 11:11 on an almost daily basis, and is more than a little wary about this fact. We've talked about it a bit, and I joke with her that when November 11th rolled around, she ought to stay indoors entirely to avoid whatever catastrophes and pitfalls might be waiting for her.
Yesterday passed seemingly without incident. I saw her at our local coffeeshop, and she was smiling. I couldn't help but think that she had forgotten the date; otherwise she'd be far more apprehensive.
I've spoken to a few other people about this, and it seems we are not alone in our tendency to glance at our watches at such particular moments. Apparently there are many studies and groups which deal with this, such as the Midwayers and other New Age-y types. It was also the day of the ceasefire of World War I, back in 1918 (though it was only 11am when it was declared). It is the new number of evil, as well as a record by the lovely Regina Spektor.
But while most of the links I got after googling 11:11 seemed to focus on angelic intervention, it is still curious that we find ourselves looking at the clocks at these times. What's more, ever since I became aware of my friends predisposition towards it, I've been looking at my own watch at 11:11 far more often.
The novel progresses. I'm having a decent time writing in little bursts, taking breaks for coffee and tea, and then doing it over again. Over and over and over again. I've got a few characters who please me. However, control freak that I am, I'm not really letting them do their own thing just yet. That, and I'm just making life far too easy for all of them. Although I just killed off the character who was originally going to be my protagonist, and have found that he's far more interesting now that he's dead.
I went for a walk late, late last night. Soft, sprinkling electronic music came through the headphones as I walked over the I-84 freeway. I had been laid out by the two Terminal Gravitys I drank after work, and was still a bit buzzy when I meandered into the parking lot of Fred Meyer to deposit a check. Naturally the Wamu ATM was out of deposit envelopes. However, on my way round the building, I noticed that one of the sliding doors parted as I walked by (this was around 2 in the morning), and, unable to resist the curiosity, I crept inside. The inner doors opened as well, and I stood briefly beside the watch racks and electronics department, surveying an empty Freds. There were workers at the far end of the store, stocking and cleaning. I hid behind sales racks.
After my jaunt to the ATM I tried to go back in, and somehow in my semi-inebriated state I failed to notice that one of said workers was standing just inside the door. He barked at me: "We're CLOSED, man!" I hurried out with my tail between my legs.
In hindsight, I probably shouldn't have ventured in a 2nd time. But there is something intriguing about being in places during the off hours. And the beers probably didn't help either. C'est la vie.
Last night while we closed down the restaurant, one of the girls I work with was talking about some customer (excuse me, guest. We are a nice restaurant) who had come up to her and literally tapped her several times on the arm to get her attention. She was discussing how lonely people must be, how desperate for any kind of human contact, that they will reach out to servers or waiters, trying to engage them in conversation when they clearly have work to do. She spoke rather disparagingly of this guest, which was fair enough. But I realized, as she spoke, that I was no different from this man who'd tried to connect with her for a moment. So many times I feel myself nearly insane with the desire to feel my hand touching another's body. Just to feel it. Or at the very least to be out amongst people, like that old Smiths song talked about. The thought stuck with me the rest of the night, and as I walked home from Freds the feeling grew so intense that I detoured to Holman's for a late dinner and the company it would afford me. I paid for the French Dip, but what I really came for were the drunken people at the table adjacent to me, the neon beer lights and jukebox, the server who smiled and told me to spin the wheel. Is this it? Is this why bars succeed and people put poison in themselves?

I apologize for having to turn on word verification for those of you who would comment, but I was getting spam with increasing frequency. I hope it won't dissuade the rest of you fine people from leaving me notes. They always make me smile, no matter how small or insignificant they might seem to you.


  1. I think, as a worker in a store too, it is geometrically more thrilling to close the store for the day (and return the formerly-crowded store to a state of total desolation) in proportion to the size of the store. A small, empty store is mundane, but a gigantic empty store has an energy.

  2. hey, sorry for the intrusion. I happened upon your journal while randomly looking at people's profile's when I should have been writing, on Nano. Got caught up here with your writing, just wanted to say, this is beautiful.

    (I'm Kimberly J. Schebler on Nano, just so this is a little less creepy and anonymous of me to be commenting on your journal here as a total stranger.)