Tuesday 22 January 2013

Simply A Moment: Choreographed Crossings


The other day, during a break at work I found myself doing one of the things I do best: people-watching and listening in to conversations.

And, as is usually the case in these situations, my fingers reached for my notebook so I could trap what I was seeing between the nib of my pen and the paper.

It wasn't until after I'd finished I realised that it was just the thing to contribute to the 'Simply A Moment' meme created by Alexa of 'Trimming the Sails' which, in her own words, is "a mid-month opportunity for pausing, noticing and recording". Alexa welcomes all who'd like to join in and share their moments ... so here's mine:

Choreographed Crossings

Date: Thursday 17th January 2013
Time: around 2.30pm
Location: Staff Lounge - at a window overlooking a main campus thoroughfare. While this part of campus is clear, everywhere else is snowy.
I watch as people below cross the quadrangle. How, like slow Red Arrows, they pass one another. Synchronised. Choreographed.
They merge as groups then pass through and intersect. Some meet. Some part.
I can't hear the joke, but I see it: 3 young men throwing their heads back in unison, laughing. They continue talking as they begin to walk away. Backwards. Still facing one another. A thread of friendship and humour spinning out like spider silk between them.

And still they come.

Left to right. Right to left. Top to bottom. Wave after wave. Never colliding. It's a flight path and I can see their contrails from up here.

Warm coats. Flat shoes. Bags. Earphones. Occasional colour. Occasional cigarettes.

A wave. A nod of recognition across the way.

Behind me they're talking business/promo speak. Someone at another table says "Prescott turned out the Great Unwashed".

Below someone is running. Are they late? Am I? No, it's only 26 past.

They clutch phones, coffee. Clipboard. Carrier bag.

The people behind me complain that Dmitri doesn't understand.

A man in a full fluorescent high-vis suit and balaclava passes by a girl wearing those odd pale-fleshy coloured leggings. No, they are her legs. Bare legs.

Bare legs?! Imagine.


Thanks for pausing and taking a moment with me.

If it's something you'd like to read more about then don't forget to visit Alexa.

See you soon.



  1. Julie you encapsulate one of the biggest things I miss from my life on campus - watching the people.

  2. hihi it looks like a window of an airplane :D

  3. The way you described it I could almost feel their movements, and at the end a little shiver. Thanks for sharing your moments of observation.

  4. As I read I'm sitting on our third floor watching some office workers slip and slide through the snow on their way to lunch. You have got my imagination racing - there has to be more than a sandwich behind those thoughtful expressions!

  5. Interesting and well told, I like this Julie......more, more!

  6. Those Northern girls are so tough.

  7. I could have been looking out of that window alongside you ... I love your descriptive writing, Julie; this is so vividly drawn (I especially like the spider silk image) and yet so meditative. Snatches ... So delighted you found a moment and shared it with us. Thank-you! :)

  8. You can almost see these people floating across that picture. I fully intended to read and run tonight (bad, bad Cam) but I just had to comment - this was such an evocative post.

  9. Very cool. And glad you joined in - you and Alexa seem like kindred spirits to me.

  10. That was a brilliant read! I felt like I was sitting there beside you. But my favourite part was "trap what I was seeing between the nib of my pen and the paper". That was AMAZING!

  11. Julie - I always enjoy your writing, people watching is fun. Thank you for sharing and answering that itch in your fingers :)

  12. I am frozen at the "bare legs". My first thought was 'how stupid' then I thought 'The winters aren't like they used to be' Then I thought 'good grief I wouldn't be young and desperate for fashion EVER again'
    Thank you for sharing and making me think

  13. Sorry so late... your moment is wonderful, so beautifully written. Bare legs! what planet are they on?
    I'm only jealous...


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