Monday, October 18, 2010
Could It Have Been Me?
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