Way back in my sophomore year, I took a poetry class and was required to make at least one entry a day in my “poetry notebook.” I didn’t always do the assignment exactly according to guidelines, but I ran across an old entry that I still find interesting. It’s about how different people have rhythms or tempos, or seem to do everything at a certain speed. These examples are based on people I actually know, but I haven’t included their names.
A: Fast, rapid. She walks at the same speed that she talks–in short, quick bursts. Coughs are always in sets of 3, as though she’s too annoyed by the necessity of coughing to do it any longer than 3 seconds. Her fractured time-keeping is reflected in how she does homework – 20 minutes at a time, grows bored, watches TV. Smiles spread quick and fade in mere moments.
B: There’s a certain devil-may-care attitude about her and she slinks to class in sweatpants and flip-flops. She returns, exhausted by her efforts, and throws herself onto the bed and sleeps. She won’t open the curtains or throw out half-eaten oatmeal, and when she speaks it’s sarcastic and slow-paced from boredom. For her, the world takes itself waaaaay too seriously.
C: Loping gait. Hey dude, what’s wrong with your voice? It’s fucked up! He replies in annoyance. And he wears that ill-fitting long black coat and puts up the hood and because he walks with a sort of limp and his clothes are intentionally too big he gets offered drugs all the time, a hindrance which he finds mostly amusing. He feels exasperated, low-key, not really expecting much as he slowly contemplates things that don’t really matter.
D: He’s like a character out of a videogame. Skinny skinny with huge eyes and a high-ish voice with a Latin accent. His movements are fast but a little languid, because he knows his own importance. And there’s the wide smile that’s usually beaming across his face because he’s so darn happy and he speaks as if everyone listening to him has a touch of slowness and needs careful explaining to. Strolls into room, chest puffed out.