Meaningless Symbols


Carolyn Jamison pulls onto campus and finds a parking space in the bottom lot. She scans the front plates of the cars across from her, decorative, of course; Pennsylvania requires only back plates: Steelers. JESUS in the Keystone State. i > u.

She steps from her car, approaches this last plate, tries to juggle the various meanings in her head.

She assigns a number to the letter i (9) and another to the u (21). 9 > 21. No. The expression makes no sense mathematically.

I is greater than you. She frowns: Grammatical mistakes drive her mad. She slides the is over in her mind, like a Chicklets-gum square from one of those plastic picture puzzles, inserting the word am in its place. I am greater than you.

The expression is heavy and mean and ugly. She glares at it. As she watches, it falls at her feet, splinters apart and loses its meaning. Three harmless symbols splattered upon asphalt.

She steps on the >, crushing it beneath the heel of her boot, nodding, satisfied, as she hears it snap. She rearranges it into an uneven equal sign. She replaces the expression on the metal plate. I is equal to you.

She shrugs. Still incorrect grammatically, but at least the equation is balanced.

She smiles, hoists her messenger bag up on her shoulder and heads up the hill towards her algebra class.

This was written for this week's Trifecta Writing Challenge. The word was juggle.



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Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: Meaningless Symbols

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Meaningless Symbols


Carolyn Jamison pulls onto campus and finds a parking space in the bottom lot. She scans the front plates of the cars across from her, decorative, of course; Pennsylvania requires only back plates: Steelers. JESUS in the Keystone State. i > u.

She steps from her car, approaches this last plate, tries to juggle the various meanings in her head.

She assigns a number to the letter i (9) and another to the u (21). 9 > 21. No. The expression makes no sense mathematically.

I is greater than you. She frowns: Grammatical mistakes drive her mad. She slides the is over in her mind, like a Chicklets-gum square from one of those plastic picture puzzles, inserting the word am in its place. I am greater than you.

The expression is heavy and mean and ugly. She glares at it. As she watches, it falls at her feet, splinters apart and loses its meaning. Three harmless symbols splattered upon asphalt.

She steps on the >, crushing it beneath the heel of her boot, nodding, satisfied, as she hears it snap. She rearranges it into an uneven equal sign. She replaces the expression on the metal plate. I is equal to you.

She shrugs. Still incorrect grammatically, but at least the equation is balanced.

She smiles, hoists her messenger bag up on her shoulder and heads up the hill towards her algebra class.

This was written for this week's Trifecta Writing Challenge. The word was juggle.



Labels:

10 Comments:

At March 5, 2013 at 6:41 AM , Blogger Tara R. said...

A math and grammar nerd, sounds like several people I know.

 
At March 5, 2013 at 7:04 AM , Blogger Draug said...

I find more insulting bumper stickers than plates, in my experience. Makes me mad when I'm following behind someone with a narrow-minded slogan stickered to the car lol

 
At March 5, 2013 at 2:12 PM , Anonymous steph said...

Crushing it beneath her boot.. satisfying.. good for her. I spend too much time trying to decipher those plates driving on the freeways.

 
At March 5, 2013 at 7:26 PM , OpenID jannatwrites said...

Personalized plates drive me crazy. Figuring them out gives me something to do when parked on the freeway, though. I like how she 'fixed' it, though!

 
At March 6, 2013 at 4:53 AM , Anonymous Trifecta said...

Ugh. I can't imagine having the. . .whatever it takes. . .to put something like that on my car. Nice job.

 
At March 6, 2013 at 7:14 AM , Blogger kymm said...

My Dad used to have plates that read "I LEASE", which is what he did. We even made fun of that.
I like this stickler lady!

 
At March 6, 2013 at 8:16 AM , Blogger Bee said...

Good for Carolyn!

 
At March 6, 2013 at 11:01 AM , Anonymous Annabelle said...

Ha. Would that we could do that in real life; the stuff people put on their cars is far too often that kind of BS.

 
At March 6, 2013 at 11:33 AM , OpenID lindavernon said...

The tone you took with this adds so much to her need to figure things out. She's very efficient. Her mind is neat and tidy. I really feel like I"m almost in there with her! Excellent!

 
At March 7, 2013 at 1:35 PM , OpenID humantriumphant said...

her OCD definitely made its mark

 

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