Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Few of the People in a Medium Sized City, One of Whom is a Painter, and Certain Sundry Comments on Sorts of Avocations

He knew that they could hear most everything that he said. Or he suspected they could. As a result, he hardly said anything. He was terrified that others might think thoughts about him that were similar to those he had about them. At times this became almost too much to bear. So he avoided others.

In an apartment three buildings away, a woman sits with her head clasped in her hands. This position, intended so often to signal despair or distress, is not intended to signify anything here. At present, presumably, this is the most comfortable position this woman is able to find for herself.

Beneath her, in an apartment identical in nearly all aspects, lives a family. At present, all members of the family are working, so no activity can be noted within this place.

All of these people – a man, a woman and a family – live in a medium sized city. One of them has pretensions of being a painter, though none of them will ever be known outside of the medium sized place where they all currently reside. Were the painter aware of this fact, he would probably forsake painting. It, like the avocations of all of these people, was an affectation and would naturally decay were one to point out the futility of it. Unlike the avocations of all the others, however, painting generated a great deal more scorn amongst the citizens of this medium sized city, for painting, unlike, say, fishing, is often regarded as the product of an exaggerated sense of self, which is a sense that most people resent, naturally enough.

Before concluding here, it should be mentioned that the man mentioned initially, the man who knew (or suspected) that others heard him, was not the painter. Neither was it the woman who clasped her head in her hands (as the pronoun in the prior paragraph no doubt betrays). Thus it was a member of the family – a male member of the family, who painted, though this fact can hardly be of any importance.

No comments: