Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Adventures in Rooftop Writing

Whoa! That's the most radical place ever, right?!

The building I live in has this rooftop terrace that overlooks downtown. You’d think that as I resident I’d take full advantage of this really wonderful commodity, but nope. I typically only visit the rooftop in the following situations:

1. If there’s fireworks. I mean, let’s face it—there’s no cooler place to be during a fireworks show than on a rooftop somewhere.

2. If it’s the first time someone’s been to my apartment. Admittedly, I become a stiff tour guide with first-time visitors so I feel it’s my duty to take them up there. (Which, I’m now realizing I handle that moment really awkwardly, too. Instead of grabbing a glass of wine and saying, “Hey, you guys wanna hang out on the rooftop?” I opt for the weird apartment stand-around where everyone stands around while I motion to different things and say the obvious, “Yep, there’s my stove and there’s my couch.” Then I abruptly turn back toward the door and say, “Well, let me show you the rooftop terrace.” You know, not like I’m talking to friends but rather to complete strangers who I’m obligated to show the most attractive parts of the building to in hopes they’d want to sign a lease.)

3. There is no third situation, but having a list of only two things seemed weird so here’s something to make it even weirder.

Today, however, in my romantic writer’s whimsy, I thought, “I’m gonna go write up there. Here’s to being adventurous!” Because adventure is going to the rooftop of the building you live in on a Wednesday afternoon to listen to Buddy Holly while you agonize over sentence structure.

I tuck my laptop under my arm and head toward the elevator, feeling totally outrageous.

I see a neighbor (a “down the hall” neighbor, so I shouldn’t feel so bad about not remembering his name) and his dog (whose name I have managed to remember but will not say in my irrational fear that my down-the-hall neighbor will somehow stumble upon my blog and tell all the other neighbors whose names I can’t remember that I can’t be trusted with the seventh floor secrets due to this salacious blog he found.)

“Hey!” I say enthusiastically—I’m really fake like that in socially awkward situations—then I motion to the dog and with much more sincerity say, “Hello little miss (insert cute name here like in a game of Madlibs).”

“Oh hey, how’s the apartment?” says dog’s owner.

“Awesome—it’s really quiet, I like it,” I say.

I realize in that moment, this is the only conversation we ever seem to have. Whenever I see him, I say “Hey!” and then motion to the dog and then he asks me how the apartment is and I answer, “Awesome—it’s really quiet, I like it.”

We have a Groundhog’s Day relationship.

We hit a tiny rough patch when we realize we’re headed in different elevator directions—who goes first and who waits? How does this work? Will it take a long time to find elevator etiquette results via a Google search?

Luckily, because I’m only going up two floors, dog’s owner bids me farewell and I get on the elevator first.

Once I’m on the rooftop, I find a nice little table to sit at and open up my computer. I wait a minute, you know, so I can bask in the artisness of the moment. I am a writer about to write something way awesome while a breeze blows in from the lake and birds flutter around me.

But, it’s really hot and I’ve made the terrible decision to wear a sweater material. Now all I can think about is how hot I am and if I should load my stuff up and go back downstairs and change.

Before I can decide, the terrace door opens and out walks a small group of friends—now, of course, I start to feel even more uncomfortable and fussy.

Like, how dare they. How dare they ruin my writer’s afternoon of solace on the rooftop? Despite being completely annoyed by their existence and loud laughing (which is not acceptable unless I’m a part of it because otherwise I will assume I am the one being laughed at; I can’t get past my “life imitates 90s teen movies” holdup, I guess) I remain seated and smile warmly at them as they walk past me.

I am wearing Ray-Ban Wayfarers; I am the cool girl writing at a table alone, not the weirdo lurking in the corner.

But, it’s really hot. Why didn’t I grab water? I am so unprepared for this, emotionally and otherwise. But I feel like if I get up now, it will be obvious it’s because of them. It’s like casually trying to lock your door at a red light when there’s a questionable person outside your car. It’s difficult to pull off the, “Oh, well, what do you know, I just happened to realize right when this slightly terrifying person was standing nearby that I forgot to lock my door! And I just always have my door locked, so it’s in no way because of you, scary gentleman who may or may not try to jack my car” logic.

So, I stay. Not writing, not thinking of things to write, just feeling out when it would be a good time to get up.

Eventually, after I checked Facebook and Pinterest and downloaded this new app on my phone that lets me add cute doodles to photographs, I close my laptop and head back to my apartment.

And that's where you would've found me this afternoon—sitting Indian style on my bed listening to an Aretha Franklin record, finally writing.