GuysterRules (guysterrules) wrote,
GuysterRules
guysterrules

Possible payback?

The finger-wagging, cynical taskmaster of writing, John Gardner, tells his students in The Art Of Fiction that one of the most grievous errors a novice writer can commit is what he terms “frigidity.” He also finds overwriting a particularly nasty trait so I’ll boil down his eighteen-page treatise on frigidity into a sentence. It happens when an author betrays his character by having them act outside the boundaries of what the writer has established thus taking the reader out of the continuous dream of reading.

I’m afraid I stumbled face first into Gardner’s theory the other day with a particularly bitter entry of an early morning street fight between a disturbed woman and myself. While I’m not a novel’s character and lord knows, at times, I hanker to be fictional, I’d like to think the portrait I’ve created is accurate although painted with my left hand: clumsy, childlike, and hapless. The truth is, I also have a scrappy side that emerges in ways that shock even me. I probably could have framed the public brawl into a less rancorous confrontation, and I definitely would have excised that last line; something I wrote with humor running rampant in my head but on the page, it just read dirty. But I don’t want to talk about that now. No. I’d much rather tell of my complete humiliation at work last evening.


The factory whistle blows in this joint at 6pm every night and the elevators fill up with disheveled power suits, tired eyes, and empty conversation but I wouldn’t know anything about that because I’m still chained to my phone for another two hours. Sometimes, I lose track of time and I can become so wrapped up in a negotiation that I forget to visit the rest room in a timely fashion, and before I know it, I am at the panic point of bladder evacuation. It happened last night only last night I had to, as Billy would say, “sit down.”

I sprang from my Aeron and headed for the nearest toilet, which is down a very long hallway, around a corner, past an elevator bank, over the hill, and through a spring. The company has isolated its talent team, as we tend to be a boisterous bunch, and we frequently blurt out cuss words in our normal course of business. When I arrived at the men’s room last night around 7:30pm, a janitor had his power polisher and was grinding away at the floor, the tiles filled ankle-high with suds. Plan B had to be enacted, and while most people were gone, I was afraid someone might still be on the other side of the building where all of my satellite teammates live and I might run into one of them in the men’s room where I had to, you know, “sit down.” That needed to be avoided at all costs so I charged down one flight of stairs to the unknown wilds of the sixth floor, home to one of our largest networks. I was sweating at this point. I looked around, the coast clear, and I slammed open the door and ran to a stall. Odd. I noticed the bathroom seemed larger than the one on my floor.

Relief. I flushed, went to the sink, and had my hands good and soapy when the woman walked through the door. I almost didn’t think twice until she spoke.

“Oh, I’m sorry. I must have the wrong one,” she smiled.

“Yeah, you do,” I said with some smarty in my pants as I wiped my hands dry with the paper towel. She left only to return immediately and said, “No. I was right. You have the wrong room”

“I do? Oh, God. I am so sorry,” I said as I scurried out of there, hoping she would somehow forget the whole silly thing but I fear that's unlikely. I’m afraid she wasn't about to talk a stroll through the cosmetics counter at Bloomingdales, and I only can hope she had a pack of matches on her.
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