Hokey Pokey (What this blog's all about)

A writing challenge I've given myself to write every day for six months. After some posts, I'll put in a comment with a brief explanation of the inspiration for the piece. Some posts will be practice for bigger projects: character sketches or settings. I don't really know what all will happen which is why I'm doing it.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Day 18

There seem to be all these situations where she knows she should keep quiet.  She thinks, "Nope, shut up.  Not a word.  Blend."  When her mouth opens anyway, she's annoyed. 

There are all these ways you can dress and doll yourself.  She thinks about it when she watches TV shows.  The way you think the actor is a particular personality type but it's really just because of how some costumer/hair/makeup people got him to look.  Then you'll see that same actor is something else all tatted up and playing an ex con and wonder which is more like him. 

She plays this game with her own look.  Sometimes she wears things and does her hair so that people will look right at her.  Directly.  Like she's an object that demands attention.  The rule in that case is, that you have to act like you didn't dress that way on purpose.  Like it's how things always are for you.  You walk puposefully and don't notice all the looks.  Those looks are like trees, they've just always been there. 

The opposite, is what she's trying to pull off.  In this scenario, you want to never be noticed.  You're playing an extra in life.  For this look, its a good idea to have neutral clothes that are somewhat baggy.  They can't draw any attention to positive aspects of your figure if you're a woman.  It's easier if you're average height.  Tall or extremely short people have a tougher time going unnnoticed.  Mousy brown hair in a pony tail is ideal.  Black, less so.  Blonde, unthinkable.  Eye makeup is a no, no.  Glasses are helpful.  And she is in trouble with this look.  She is blonde and tall with striking blue eyes.  She dons dark rimmed glasses, and they help.  But platinum is harder to hide.  She doesn't wear makeup and makes no eye contact.  She reads a book behind her lap top while she waits for class to start, hoping it helps.

And she promises herself, again, promises herself, she'll keep quiet.

She makes it through a Biology lecture, then Economics.  She's already taken a whole series of History courses this way.  But she wishes she could take a drama class.  Technical drama specifically.  She wants to know how to run sound and lights and build sets.  But she's not sure if she should risk it.  Maybe she could attend the lecture but not the lab.

She almost got caught in an English Literature class once.  For once, she did exactly what she was supposed to do: stayed quiet.  But it had backfired.  The professor asked her what her name was and what she knew about the Bronte sisters.

"Clara," She'd lied.  She was prepared with that one, less so with what followed..  "Only that they're the only thing worse than having no writing role models for girls, is having the Bronte sisters."  She'd quipped.  If she had just shrugged and said that they were three pioneer women writers from the 1800s, the professor's eyes would never have rested on her.  Why couldn't she just stick to the cement-flavored nonanswers everyone else gave?  She'd argued with the professor for nearly 20 minutes.  She'd been really interested in that class but had been unable to finish the course for fear of being found out.

Clara doesn't pay to go to school.  She sneaks in.  It's not like there are locks or gates or anything.  They just drop all this fancy, expensive schooling right in the middle of the city and expect a girl not to get curious?  Come on.  So she takes classes.  She learns about ancient societies, and trigonometry, and whatever she feels like going to.  She arrives on time, never too early, and NEVER late.  And the professors never notice.

She's sure of herself now.  She's got a system for how to find classes, how to blend, how to get the most out of them.  She's getting cocky.  And she really wants to take the drama class.

One day, she has a few beers with a guy before class.  She never drinks before class, but he's cute and she makes an exception.  She lies about her name.  Clara.  It's the first day of the semester.  She loves that.  The stress on people's faces as they bustle to a new class.  The not-so-chance encounters between students who make plans, then break them.  She likes the energy of the new spines on books and the blank new documents.  She likes that she hasn't forgotten anything or screwed up on being quiet, yet. 

So she goes to the Theater Tech class.  And realizes quickly that it is a mistake.  There's way too much interaction in this class.  How do you blend, when within ten seconds of walking into class, she's already been asked to join a group that will work together for the duration of the term?  The class is not about acting.  It is absolutely not about acting.  But someone has to be on stage when you're working on lighting or learning about sound. 

Sound.  They're working on sound.  And beer.  Beer is working on her.  The group chooses her to be the one on stage and tell her to sing.  Anything.  They're working on sound, so sing, Clara.

She belts it out.  And she knows.  Immediately she knows.  They heard her.  Her glasses won't help.  They saw her.  She's been noticed.


  1. This idea came from flirting with the idea of crashing a writing conference. Then flirting with the idea of crashing grad school.

  2. It would be hard to blend in if you are amazingly attractive. I can either wear my hair up or down, and not be recognized by people I know. Also, I have a mustache, and if I were to shave it off would look different, but I think you are talking about something else. Not being noticed is one thing, looking different is another. In both cases I am trying to be noticed. Haha. Also, classes are smaller in grad school, depending on what you are taking. If it's english lit, classes would only be with about 20 people, maybe less.

  3. This was in undergrad.
    I want to conduct this as an experiment and see how many classes you could go to (undergrad) but I'm too old to go unnoticed, I think. Maybe on at a state school, I could pull it off. It would be an interesting experiment.