Monday, October 18, 2010

Could It Have Been Me?

I like visiting places that I have never been before. This was right in line with an exercise from a new book that I picked up on “writing”. The point of the exercise was to go to a place, building, house, park, or anywhere that you had never been – someplace out of the ordinary for yourself, but not putting yourself in any real danger. Spend at least thirty minutes in this strange environment and make note either mentally or on a note pad. Use judgment in not drawing unwanted attention to yourself. This new knowledge would be new fodder for a future story.

Passing by on numerous occasions, I had never paid any great attention to the outer facade. Entering the main door, I was greeted by a uniformed gentleman.

“How are you today?”

Friendly enough it seemed. “I am doing ok, and you? My name is (you know what it is)

“Hello, they call me Webster.”

“I am doing a writing exercise for a class and part of the experiment calls for me to observe a place or situation that was new to me”. (Ok, “a class” can be just one person, can’t it?) “I should be finished within thirty minutes”.

“That’s fine. I will leave you at it then”.

I took a seat in one of the several nondescript vinyl upholstered stools. The room was brightly lit and with no windows. There could hardly be any differentiation between day and night. Eggshell colored walls enclosed the room towering upward three times the height of normal. The number of people was sparse. No conversation indicated that anyone was familiar with the other. A monotonous stare affixed to each as if they were unaware of the person in close proximity. Do they know or feel as if they are being held prisoner. Do they even have the will power to live and thrive outside these walls, or has the routine welded itself into their being so that what was once an individual is following the same motions as the gang. Minutes, for me, seemed like hours. How did they feel about time? A large clock fastened high on the south wall might as well not been there. No one seemed to check for the time of day. My upbeat mood was shot for the day. I didn’t like this place. How had I missed all this? Could I have just as easily been part of this bunch? Each one is a decent human being and I in no way draw a conclusion as to what is right or wrong. What would I do?

My sentence ended after what seemed much longer than thirty minutes. I had the option and ability to get up and walk out. I did.

“Thanks you Mister Webster. Time for me to be getting on down the road. I appreciate your hospitality.” He opened the door ahead of me and I couldn’t pass through quick enough.

“Come back anytime”. Mr. Webster’s grin had no indication of true intent.

“Sure thing”. I touched the visor of my cap.

The roar of my truck’s diesel engine eased a soothing effect over my fading anxiety. I was leaving. I wondered when their stay would be ending. The power steering belt gave a whining screech as I turned to leave the parking area and I glanced up at the stark sign marking the location. Casino


  1. Good storytelling here, Glenn. A sobering, objective look at what is, for many, a prison without bars...

  2. Oooo Glenn. You had me. So sure we were talking about prison. I volunteered at Juvi for awhile. Going through all the locked and gated entrances. Frisked, pen removed, badged, did little to prepare me for the claustrophobic feeling that I could not just run out of there if I wanted to. Still had to reverse through the whole process. What you did for the writing exercise is something we should do at every opportunity. Good work!

  3. I sat in a courtroom this morning for a couple of hours, and for that length of time, we were all of us in effect..prisoners. In the way that we were not allowed to leave until told we could do so. Now I'm a free spirit, so I was'nt real comfortable with that part of it. It was interesting to get a glimpse of the process...and the judge had some cool things to say...
    BUT sadly to say, I was rejected Yay!!!
    I think we all live a prison of some sort...things and places we just can't escape from.
    have a good day, glenn
    ps. my brother's name is Glen also, he's the only brother i've got...and he's 64 now, and he's spent almost all of his live behind bars.
    I'd like to have him in my life, he and I are the only ones left in our little band.
    thanks for letting me ramble, this just touched a nerve in me...

  4. Whoa! And Whoa again! Nicely written and sadly lived.

    I went into a Casino a few months back to exchange currency at the border. I felt like I was on the moon or underwater and everyone else was clearly on drugs. I.get.this. Yikes. Imagine, for them, this was life.

    REALLY like this piece, Glenn. You did this for real, right? I like this, too.


  5. Good one Glenn! I of course thought you were in a prison and maybe a couple of other places as I read but never did I imagine that you were in a casino,wow. You have been missed.

  6. Oh that was funny! I thought you were in a holding cell of some sort! lol

  7. Really good!! Thanks for stopping by and visiting and yes you are welcome to stop by anytime you like :)

  8. Since you used the word 'exercise' two times at the beginning, and I was listening to the news while reading this, I somehow thought you had gone into one of those small neighborhood exercise places, and was imagining how many times you will see the people lined up on the treadmills or bikes, lost in their own worlds and not seeing, hearing, or talking to anyone around them. They always look like they're a prisoner to the need to exercise, right, like it's a big chore? So I was REALLY surprised that it was a casino!

    Good story about your experience, Glenn, and glad to see you back! I've missed you!

  9. Whew! I've only been to a casino once...and never went anywhere near the tables. I hated the place...really. You did a good job here.

  10. Me again, Thank you for all your comments. When I sent the comment to you, I had not realized you had commented on a couple of my other posts. Feel free to comment anytime. ( how many times can a person say comment in one little paragraph lol) I will be visiting you as well and of course COMMENTING :)

  11. There are times, probably all too rarely, that I have felt myself acutely observing...feeling the new environment that I found myself in. Oddly I felt myself in your shoes in this narrative.

    Loved the surprise twist.

  12. Great post Glenn, you are a wonderful writer. That would be the death of me I'm sure if I was in a place where I couldn't leave or enjoy my freedom......:-) Hugs

  13. Clever, clever!

    I have only been to one casino in my life, in New Orleans. I was so depressed that most of the people there just pushed the button on the slot machine instead of pulling the fun-looking lever, and I didn't stay long. Prison, indeed!

  14. Very clever Glenn! You got me going for a while :) Loved the ending.