The woman at the bus stop was telling her boyfriend how bad her job was. While she talked she fingered her curly blond hair. Her complaint was punctuated by the snapping of gum in a rhythm as steady as raindrops hitting a tin roof.
“I mean, she gave me a half an hour lecture on Wite-Out—how to use it, where to put it back, and she told me not to take her bottle. It was insane! I mean, I’m twenty-five years old! I know how to use Wite-Out.” The boyfriend grunted sympathetically. Off to the other side a teenager slumped against a post, his headphones so loud that some kind of disco music was leaking out the sides. His jeans were pulled down low, the crotch falling somewhere around his knees, hobbling him. In the street horns were honking, and I could hear cars rolling by. Occasionally there would be another song to mix with the kid’s headphone noise, as vehicles with open windows cruised on past.
The air was fresh, still damp and clean from a recent rain. I was grateful for that, because sometimes the bus shelters have a funk about them, a certain smell that reminds me of all the alcoholics we have out on the street. Instead the scent in the air was damp earth with the slight undercurrent of exhaust which lingers near any roadway.
My heels were a little sore from dancing, and I rested against the bus sign, so that the sidewalk would not take my full weight. It helped a bit. I was looking forward to getting home; looking forward to the tangy zip of the gazpacho I had planned for dinner.
Today’s little slice of Seattle was brought to you by the five senses. Including a little bit from each sense helps a scene come to life, to inhabit a reader’s brain. This skill is helpful for writers, but is applicable to anyone—when you’re telling a story to someone, you want them to know what it was like to be there. Make them feel it with you, and you’ll captivate your listener every time.
Your assignment, should you choose to accept it:
96. Describe something that happened today. How did it smell, feel, taste, sound and look? Do you remember more because you used all your senses? Is the telling more vivid?