Confounded by his system

Confounded by his system

A Chapter by TLK

He is a teacher of the virtue of waiting. He has the philosophical understanding of time attained by those who have always been rewarded patience. If not now, then; this is enough.

His understanding leads him to shop carefully, for he enjoys the anticipation of a useful purchase. And it is not a problem that he shops carefully: he is very understanding, letting others flow around him. He knows that his proud weighing of each bag of carrots can be obstructive for others. As you watch him he deliberates secretly, with a cramped body covering his actions, each hand making its judgement in moments. While he longs to taste each fresh roll with his fingertips he does not want to leave the streaks of his presence on other peoples' food. So he hovers above each one, breathing the molecules given off as they harden.

And I say it again: this is not a problem. People will see him doing this and, confident, grab all of their purchases and march to the counter. If he is behind you, there is no problem.

Here is the problem.

When paying, he is confounded by his system. This system is to make notes in an illegible script on rectangles of paper, which bunch up and dirty like feathers at the ruffle of his fingers. He keeps them in his wallet, in all possible compartments, and each one looks worn enough to be money. So he takes them out, each one in turn, and lets his hand push forward as if to pay with it. In the middle of this motion he inevitably realises that it is just dirtied paper, and he starts again.

Behind him people start to sway like reeds which have each encountered a different rhythm in the wind. They are agitated because he tends to confound expectations: sometimes only trying to pass off one of these poor forgeries before being successful, sometimes not finding any paper money at all -- searching through his pockets for the tinkling of change and taking out his keys instead. The reeds sway with rage, expecting him to take minutes when today he takes moments. Or they bend further and further with disbelief when yesterday he took moments and today his takes minutes. But they say nothing.

There is nothing to say.

I am three deep behind him. I wonder if I even want whatever it is that is in my hands; something which my fingers cannot taste, which my mind does not think essential. I wonder whether I should just write myself a note instead, reminding myself to get it later. I wonder whether I could, myself, watch my hand trying to pay with this note in future. A communicable forgetfulness that would stretch back precisely to now... a now which I would probably forget. To a disease vector who himself has forgotten all the quarantines he has broken.


Still, we all wait. I can find some good in this. To have a moment to realise that -- frozen in line like this, stripped of the sureness in the A-to-B of movement -- we find ourselves to be slightly unsure of what we were doing and why.
 
I walk past him, outside the shop. The rain is streaking his glasses. He has another note, and he has a stubby pencil stolen from a betting shop. I do not know what it is writing, but for a moment I fancy that it is simply: "Keep notes and money separate". I wonder how confused he will be when, tomorrow, he will try to pay with it. When he realises that he has forgotten to read and act on his note yet again. When he senses that his system can never transcend itself, that it can never remind him to be someone else.



© 2013 TLK



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Featured Review

Seriously. TWO reviews? sigh. Here's my lame opinion doused thoroughly in fruity scented dish soap and as squeaky as possible - a veritable vehicle for Glinda to travel the kingdom - a POX on those who wont review something with "Chapters" in it.
This was wonderful. At first read my thought was - You've shopped behind my spouse. and then I thought. Oh yeah. I"m supposed to review. But that's the beauty of good writing - we superimpose it over our own condition and say "Hey I see me in this" - then I - in my attempt to be smarter than I look - delve deeper. I connect with this poor soul - wondering - is he mentally challenged? Is he suffering from some age related malady? Poor guy...AHA - you've set the hook and I'm flopping in the bottom of your boat. I love poetry. I write a grip ton of the stuff. But I am also a novelist wannabe and poetry is often the crack around the cafe. Easy to get, instantly gratifying and cheap to produce. There are AMAZING poets here - but poetry is the main offering here. You have to dig for novels and longer works. I have a spoon for such excursions. Its plastic - but usable.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

TLK

4 Years Ago

Heh. Thank you for being hooked, it means a lot to know that my words wriggle like worms.

read more



Reviews

i can't say what emotions filled me as i read these words, maybe i'll just offer a smudged piece of crumpled paper instead, maybe it will say simply an amazing piece of work this is

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Emily B

4 Years Ago

forgive me, i should have chewed my way through more of your writing by now, i've been a little dist.. read more
TLK

4 Years Ago

Reading takes its own time -- I refuse to accept that you need forgiveness.

I will inst.. read more
Emily B

4 Years Ago

then i will scrape and bow and be appropriately penitent for the existence of Glee clubs
Seriously. TWO reviews? sigh. Here's my lame opinion doused thoroughly in fruity scented dish soap and as squeaky as possible - a veritable vehicle for Glinda to travel the kingdom - a POX on those who wont review something with "Chapters" in it.
This was wonderful. At first read my thought was - You've shopped behind my spouse. and then I thought. Oh yeah. I"m supposed to review. But that's the beauty of good writing - we superimpose it over our own condition and say "Hey I see me in this" - then I - in my attempt to be smarter than I look - delve deeper. I connect with this poor soul - wondering - is he mentally challenged? Is he suffering from some age related malady? Poor guy...AHA - you've set the hook and I'm flopping in the bottom of your boat. I love poetry. I write a grip ton of the stuff. But I am also a novelist wannabe and poetry is often the crack around the cafe. Easy to get, instantly gratifying and cheap to produce. There are AMAZING poets here - but poetry is the main offering here. You have to dig for novels and longer works. I have a spoon for such excursions. Its plastic - but usable.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

TLK

4 Years Ago

Heh. Thank you for being hooked, it means a lot to know that my words wriggle like worms.

read more
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Sam
Your writing is so clear and clean, a real pleasure to read. I believe this man is completely satisfied in his process, even while being so very aware that others are not enlightened enough to see what he sees. In my mind I believe he writes on that last note something like 'still require the standard money, they have yet to catch on..."

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

TLK

5 Years Ago

I'm not sure our fragile economy could withstand bits of square paper becoming currency. (Perhaps we.. read more
A lost soul--fighting an entrenched system with his own and losing...but never giving up.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 5 Years Ago


TLK

5 Years Ago

I wish he was real so I could ask him what he was doing. In terms of my fantastical invention, I th.. read more
Marie

5 Years Ago

I wasn't sure about it, but thanks.

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Added on September 2, 2012
Last Updated on April 24, 2013
Tags: waiting, patience, virtue, notes, communicable, forgetfulness
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Author

TLK
TLK

Birmingham, West Midlands, United Kingdom



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Signed up to the Pledge to Civil Conduct in Discourse on Writer's Cafe: please challenge me if you think I am breaking either the letter or the spirit of the rules. I try to review well myself (see.. more..

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