Details you never thought to add

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): White Shadows by Coldplay.

The Archived Adventures!

As a character on my own adventure out here at the Smithsonian, I’m discovering all over again that little details are so important for a story in making that final leap from trite cliché to startling reality. I keep seeing all these things, little things, that would make a story of an ordinary girl (aka – me) in a very ordinary story (overcoming impossible obstacles in discovering who she is becoming as a young woman all while finding true love! Ahem. Okay, the last part is more wishful thinking) pop out from the page, if I happened to live between the lines of a book.

Here is a list of some quirks of my personal adventure that I’ve discovered that might not make it into the story from an untrained eye:

1. My shower. It doesn’t believe in this temperature called “warm.” It’s against its religion. It has two preferences – volcanic, and glacial. It speaks both these languages fluently, and often switches between them if I breathe on them wrong.

2. I have ancient space heaters (but ironically with a very posh lobby. I swear, you’d think we were millionaires) – but you know the kind, where you don’t see a temperature, but just a little knobby and have to play a careful guessing game to get the right temp. And add to the mix my four other room roommates who we each have our definition of the “right” temperature.

3. My shower is green. Lime green.

4. I have no insulation on any of my apartment windows, and only one sheet of glass. So it gets cold here, very fast (and my head when I sleep is next to the window, which is kinda funny, especially since I like sleeping in a tank top. The space heater is next to my head too. I like the combination of hot and cold. Yes, I’m weird, I know).

5. I have clothes on every surface of my bedroom, all clean, but none in the closet (okay, there’s a few).

6. I survive off of pop tarts, instant breakfasts, and fruit smoothies in the morning. Lunch is a sad affair of the same peanut butter and jelly day after day after… Dinners are my specialty though ;)

7. We had a mouse in our apartment. On the fifth floor. And I have no idea how he got up here. I’ve only seen him once (and hopefully never again).

8. Metro tickets are expensive, and I still feel sick every time my little card number goes down.
9. I rock out to my ipod every morning on the way to work, and I see other very upstanding businessmen listening to theirs too (which I find absolutely hilarious) and I can’t help but wonder if they are secretly listening to Metallica. It’s a fantastic image.

10. I like Metro surfing. Call me juvenile, but it’s fun. I do it discreetly, of course.

11. We have records as decorations on our walls. It’s AWESOME.

12. Our dishes are the most random hodge-podge you have ever seen. It’s like all the previous interns stole just one glass or one cup from every apartment in the building and brought them to our apartment. There is one bowl that I swear is going to explode any day now.

There’s more (oh there’s always more, bwahahaha!) but I shall forebear.


Frankie Diane Mallis said...

Heather I love this post! I like all of these little details. And you're right, this is what makes a story jump off the page and stop being a cliche thing. Also, in the winter, my room is sweltering hot, my bed is like over the heater, but I sleep with a fan on-I need that little mix of hot and cold too:-)

Shannon Messenger said...

Great post Heather. These are the details that add richness to an otherwise boring description. Thanks so much for sharing. Oh, and I'm kind of the opposite. I refuse to let my husband run the heater at night because I LOVE the feel of heavy blankets. I want it freezing so I can snuggle under a mountain of blankets, like it's my own little cocoon. He whines every morning when he has to get out of bed to a cold house, but tough. He married me, he's stuck with me! :)

Heather Zundel said...

Frankie - I'm glad I'm not the only one. :)

Shannon - I love that feeling too, but I don't like being cold, so it's a precarious balance I walk. But I bet he loves you anyway.