Thirty Seconds (writing exercise)

Empathuse By Empathuse, 5th May 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Society & Issues

Everything is opportunity; even missing one. All information and experience is good information or experience; what matters most is what we DO with the opportunities presented in both.

Thirty Seconds


Why do they always have to swarm around like gnats? This question ran over and over through Jack's mind as he sat idle on the bus bench with twenty minutes to spare.

Being a "people watcher" since his earliest days of High School, Jack had observed people and absorbed conglomerations of details through this act. He had learned a lot about people, their behaviors and lifestyles, analyzing the psychology of it all. He always tried to predict reactions of the people in the situations he observed. He had watched as kids played on their playgrounds; always amazed when one kid tried to mimic the other's actions and only one of them succeeded. Is this natural selection, he thought? Or is it simply the successful kid's earlier choices led him to develop his physique in such a way as to outperform other kids, to reach the goal with less effort despite having the same approach as the others? He had watched mother's dragging their kid by the arm, the little one throwing a fit of panic as though he were about to be tossed into a wood burning stove, while another mother would stop walking and stoop to listen to her child, taking interest in whatever it was the kid had set his sights on. And then, when the kid's interest had passed, they continued along. He determined back then that every single choice created a new pathway in life. Interesting how his determination to weigh the efficiency of his choices and make the right decisions, to watch every step and attempt to predict what ground would sustain that step, had led him to a bitter life of isolated observation.


Jack analyzed the details surrounding the swarm before him and tried to imagine how their childhood had unfolded. His dark brown bangs hung like claws around the sides of his forehead, his deep brown eyes just as beady as shadows in a pitch black cave. His forehead was wrinkled from years of scrutiny. He stood a full six feet and had broad shoulders, though his limbs were as scraggly as those ungrateful teenagers he used to teach.

A pair of youngsters walked by holding hands, smiling and laughing with each other. They'd occasionally point off to the side of the walkway, to something of interest behind a store window, or across the street to something out of reach. One of them stooped to pick up a wadded bill stuck where the building's brick wall met the cement. The male looked around a few times as the female examined the bill, which Jack noticed was a one hundred dollar bill. He heard them discussing whether to take it into the store to see if anyone had sought the lost bill through the clerks, or keep it. Jack chuckled to himself as one of the store employees placed a "sold out" sign in the window at the foot of the display the teenagers had admired. They missed their window of opportunity. He was always amazed at how fleeting opportunities could be, and how invisible! Had they let their excitement flow and rushed into the store to buy that desired item in the window instead of spending the seconds in moral discussion, they would have been the cause of that "sold out" sign. He considered approaching them with the confidence and apprehension of someone who had lost a one hundred dollar bill.


Jack turned his attention to a squirrel darting in and out of traffic, trying to cross the steadily moving street. The poor beast narrowly dodged death at least three times before finally becoming a meal for the scavengers of nature's court. Even animals miss their windows, he mused.

"Bah!" he growled, beginning the painful and tedious process of getting up from a sitting position. "To hell with the bus! I'll walk."

As Jack hobbled away on his crutch, he passed by the store and noted to himself that the kids must have gone inside to seek the owner of the bill.


Jayce and Hennalee burst out of the store, their eyes immediately finding the bus bench where the clerk had said an unfortunate crippled man would be sitting. The clerk admitted in honesty that no one had come in looking for the bill, but that they were good kids for trying, and suggested they give some of the lost money to the crippled man who sat in front of his store every day. "The man is always grumbling and keeping to himself," said the clerk. Jayce and Hennalee tend to jump at the opportunity to help out someone in need, so they thought the clerk's plan was marvelous.

But they had missed Jack by seconds.


Anger, Greed, Immersion, Negativity, Observing, Opportunity, Optimism, People Watching, Taken For Granted

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author avatar Empathuse
Don't ask my favorite anything; Equanimity steers me well. A love for Nature and Life drives my passion to pursue enlightenment, and heal and inspire the world.

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