Ongoing History: Multi-tasking

First, a brief: A college student walking up S. Negley Ave. around eleven o’clock Monday stopped midway up the hill, pulled out her cell phone and photographed a wild turkey on the other side of the street, in a gravel lot tucked behind an apartment complex.

Next: In the 61C coffee shop just after six o’clock Monday evening, a woman in her thirties with good posture and pristine walking sneakers added footnotes to academic paper, including, “4. She wants comfort, love and affection” and another that began, “6. Several epiphanies:” Between bouts of working, she switched to a Boggle-like game. She found SASH and MASHED and several other words using those letters before returning to her paper. In a new set of footnotes, perhaps for the next chapter, she typed, “3. To stop herself from being silenced as a woman. To stop the lies” and then, after considering it for a moment, highlighted the latter half of the footnote, deleted it and typed, “3. To stop herself from being degraded, raped, silenced and…” Just at that moment, a Stevie Ray Vaughan song, “Pride and Joy,” broke the silence. The woman switched back to the game and started a new word grid. She found the words SANE, WEST, COST and STEW.

To her left were three empty tables and followed by a fourth where a man worked on what appeared to be the fourth stanza of a free form poem. Between lines he switched to a Google map of a city defined by a swooping river. He zoomed in and out of the map, looking at neighborhoods and intersections, and returned to his document. After a minute, he looked up a Wikipedia entry featuring photos of some field sport, and then looked up a different Wikipedia entry featuring a blue and black staircase leading down to a basement. Then he returned to his document and added another line to the end of it.

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