Doug Bruns

Do you hear the whizzing sound?

In Life, Memoir, Writing on June 15, 2012 at 6:00 am

View from my window.

Impoverished–that’s the only way to describe my state this afternoon.

Ridiculous, isn’t it? Whiney. (According to The American Heritage Dictionary of The English Language, Third Edition, whiny, without the “e” is also correct. Interesting: the word whine comes from a Middle English word, whinen, meaning, to make a whizzing sound. I sit here at my desk making a whizzing sound. Anyway, it’s come to that: turning to the dictionary for a day’s traction.)

The view out my window–the corner of Fore and Moulton–affords me a bit of water, if I crane my neck. Before getting to the water, though, I have to peer around a large brick wall with a nicely painted sign reading, C.H. Robinson Co. Paper. I don’t know anything about the Robinson company and don’t believe it is still, indeed, a company. I am now curious and will have to ask around. Nevertheless, someone is taking care to keep the paint on the brick crisp. I’ve been looking out this window the three years I’ve had this office and have never seen the sign painted or touched up. It’s been there all along, though, looking nice. I’ll have to keep my eye on it.

The other widow, across the office, looks over the alley below. (It’s called Wharf Street and there is a history to Wharf I am not going to bore you with. Really, it’s just a nice cobblestone alley.) In the summer, when the weather is pleasant, people sit at picnic tables outside Gritty’s and eat and drink. Their voices drift up to my open windows and it’s as if I have company, only I can ignore them. Directly across the way is a new building, also brick. Our four floors line up directly and I can see the people sitting at desks working. There are four or five workers. They are not impoverished.

There is a woman who has her back to the window and is always on her computer. I’ve never seen her face. Once, last winter, she taped blank sheets of paper to her window blocking my view of her and, more specifically, her computer screen. This made me very self-conscious. Either she was working on something top secret or I had become a nuisance. This is possible–the nuisance part. I guess the top secret part is also possible, I don’t know. I have been told that I can be a nuisance. Usually I’m told this when I am least expecting it–again, making me self conscious, which is the opposite of impoverished.

Regardless, the sheets of paper have come down and I try to be a good neighbor and not stare.

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