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Anonymous Anonymous's Autobiography (submitted 5/17/06)
As an artist who needs to pay the rent, I take temp jobs. One summer I was hired to stand sentinel in a chichi shop, greeting customers all day while my back ached. The store was expensive and specialized, and so few people came in to browse that it looked and felt like a museum. The boredom I experienced in that job was almost spiritual, like if I stood there long enough, quietly enough, I'd figure out the answers to life's hardest questions. I guess I don't have to tell you that I didn't. But since the storefront was made of two huge plate-glass windows, I did discover the pleasure of watching life move past on the street out front. One bright morning a moving truck with Missouri plates brought men in cowboy hats to move a nearby office. After lifting and shoving metal desks and filing cabinets into their truck they sat down in the back and ate big sandwiches, their boots dangling above the blacktop. Another day, when I was alone in the store, a man in worn, dirty clothes danced through the door, took my hand as if to shake it, kissed it instead, and left without a word. My last week there, about an hour after we closed, a car jumped the sidewalk directly across the street and knocked down three small trees and a sign before hitting a woman on her bike. I learned about it at home on the news; for one surreal second the view on my television was exactly the one from the store's window. The woman died, and the next day I watched as people came to leave flowers where it happened. All day long people came until there was a mound of flowers, like a shrine.