Monday, March 28, 2011

The Strangest Room

He stood at the door, uncertain. There seemed to be all sorts of things happening inside, and his imagination hinted at some of the crazier ones, but he didn’t know whether the invitation his friend had given him would allow him complete access, or if he’d have to wait a while until the right people showed him the more interesting rooms.

Looking back, he saw a lifetime of loneliness. As though he was holding a mirror up to himself, and, reflected in a second mirror was just himself, dull and uniform, cascading into history. He’d heard rumours about this place- it wasn’t a secret anymore- but those who came here seemed to be holding an access card to something he’d never quite believed possible.

Outside the doorway, piles of newspapers lay moldering, rotting and unread, and somewhere far off, a vinyl record spun with a scratch catching it at every turn, an infuriating snatch of music which never reached a crescendo or faded out with the usual hiss and click.

He stepped inside. A group of ten people stood to his left. He caught snippets of conversation. Sport of some sort. They were chatting, giving the low-down on a match, and seemed friendly enough. He considered walking over, but wasn’t quite sure of himself- the language they used was different to the idle chatter of, say, a bar or a railway carriage, and he didn’t want to give himself away.

On the far side of the room, he could see something which looked like a gallery. Hundreds of pictures of sunrises and sunsets, snapshots of glistening cocktails with olives and cherries, and plates heaped with sushi, all pinned to the wall. A crowd of people gathered round the pictures, wrote small comments, and melted into the crowds again.

There were massive screens with multiple facets- reminding him of disco balls- each tiny screen showing a news channel or a sitcom, and many people clustered around pointing, arguing or laughing.

With a jolt, he realised a noise he heard wasn’t coming from the screens, but from a shadowed area in the corner. There was a man sitting next to a woman, but not with her. They were weeping, and he was slapping the floor with his open hand, shouting in between the tears.

Looking away uncomfortably, he felt before he saw the unmistakable electricity of romance. Testosterone. He saw groups of women and men posing and laughing too loudly at each other’s jokes, all the while moving subtly closer. They seemed like wolves, to him, and again he looked away.

In the centre of the room was an ordinary-looking crowd of people. They were passing each other cups of coffee, sometimes giving each other hugs in a familiar way, or opening a bar of chocolate to share. They were talking about dreams, the weather, sleeping in on weekends and the natural progression of stress from Monday to Friday. He saw his friend there, in the middle, and held his breath. If there was any way to get started here, this seemed like the right crowd to do it in. He tapped someone on the shoulder. Hello, he said, I’m Scott. Can I follow you?

Across the room, an angry person screamed incoherently about customer service, and someone else cackled hysterically at their own joke.

He’d finally joined in.


  1. Wow! The whole twitter experience I get it! From tweeple offering vitual coffee in the morning to the preverbial it chocolate tweet to sharing snapshots of sunsets on twitpic lol babe you can follow me anytime ;-) love ya

  2. At first I didn't get it, but then reading Kambabe's comment about it being Twittervale, it made total sense! Awesome piece, sir!

  3. So clever, just what it is like. So glad I get to call you my friend

  4. thank goodness we had Kambabe to translate, I thought he was dead LOL. Riveting read

  5. if i show this to the twitter skeptics... they may finally send us all to the loony bin. let's keep the normals out as long as possible. ;)


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