The Space or Event Essay: Thirteen Examples

See the World

Adriana Pauly

Oooooh

Some people think they’re always right

Others are quiet and uptight

Others they seem so very nice nice nice nice nice oh oh

Inside they might feel sad and wrong

Oh no

29 different attributes

And only 7 that you like, uh oh

20 ways to see the world, oh oh

Or 20 ways to start a fight

The Strokes, “You Only Live Once”

Location: LAX airport, California, USA

Date & Local time: April 18th, around 12:00 p.m.

Finally! I threw my tired and exhausted body into the airplane chair. After having slept for only an hour we had to take down our camp to catch a shuttle at 4:00 a.m. back to LAX. Over the four hours that it took the driver to take the eight of us, I drifted in and out of sleep, incapable of resisting my body’s exhaustion. At LAX I had another four hours before my plane left, I had found a small couch and had just rolled myself up in my jacket, hugging my purse while holding on to my suitcase. I obviously realize that my soft, sleepy grip would not have kept anyone from stealing my possessions; however I liked to think that it would. Reminiscing about the weekend and the things that happened I was very pleased with my experience.

In about eleven hours I would be reunited with my bed, shower and the rest of the world. I had a feeling my lack of communication had angered several people, even more so since nobody really knew where I was or when exactly I was coming home. I wasn’t worried, I had my passport which contains my visa, the only possession with a real value.

Location: Coachella festival site, near Indigo, California, USA

Date & Local time: April 17th, around 6 p.m.

This must be the happiest place in the world. Music, art and freedom—what more could I ask for? I was so glad to have come all the way from New York to Coachella, an annual festival in California. I had just gone off by myself to watch a band while my friends stayed at the beer garden. We had arranged to meet after the concert to watch the last bands of the festival together and finishing off what had been a perfect weekend.

Feeling empowered, free spirited and a little too aware of the fact that I was about to stand in a crowd of people by myself, watching a band by myself, I sat down on the meadow waiting for the band to come on. Buoying myself up and ignoring the cheerful groups of people around me I decided to lie down for a bit, watching the sky turn darker with the setting sun, watching rabbit clouds forming and drifting away. I lay my head on my purse so that in the unlikely event that I would fall asleep nobody would be able to steal my precious possessions, including my phone, camera and passport.

Mid-concert I dejectedly had to admit that watching a concert by myself was not as empowering as I had made it out to be and after making a pit-stop at the “toilets” (I am not sure if these establishments even deserve to be called that since after an entire weekend of 24-hour service under the burning desert sun these little cubicles of disgustingness were more like the entrance to hell than anything else…back to the story) I decided to rejoin my friends. While I was physically moving, mentally I was having a heated debate over female empowerment and why not wanting to be alone at a concert had more to do with wanting to share the experience with a loved one. In a different side of my head I was planning on how I would incorporate this new liberating feeling I had gained over the weekend to my new york lifestyle while still in another aisle I was trying to scout out if there were any potential new acquaintances to be made.

With the intention of getting my phone I rummaged around my bag, eventually dumping all of its inside, on the dirty ground. No phone. I patted myself down, still no phone. I looked up, and around me, no phone just a massive open space and an overwhelming amount of people. My brain quickly tried to reproduce the events of the past 30 minutes. To my own astonishment I realized that I had no idea what had happened. I remembered lying on the meadow and remembered being at the toilets however, I had no recollection of where exactly I had been lying, or how I got to the toilets nor which toilet I was on. I quickly remembered the million times I had cursed myself out, for not paying attention to my surroundings while at the same time hearing my mothers accusing voice:„ “Ay, Adriana!”

I tried to re-create my path, frantically searching the ground, lifting up and touching things that should have remained untouched, opening doors that should have remained locked permanently.

Twenty exasperating minutes later I decided to give up. “Who cares? Pfft. Materialistic things like cell phones are overrated anyways! Who the fuck cares, really? I’ll just use my old phone again.”

Well it turned out that more people cared than I thought.

Location: Coachella festival site, near Indigo, California, USA

Date & Local time: April 17th, around 7:00 p.m.

Girl finds a phone on the ground. She dials the number of the last person to have called it.

Location: Pawling, New York, USA

Date & Local time: April 17th, around 10:00 a.m.

Nubia Salazar‘s phone rings while she is about to go to bed. She quickly picks up to not wake her husband who has already been asleep for three hours. She hears a strange voice. She listens but can’t quite make sense of what she is hearing. The strange voice tells her that Adriana, her cousin’s daughter who she had gotten to know only a year ago when the girl came to New York to study, had lost her purse and should call her phone. Nubia hangs up.

Location: Hoboken, New Jersey, USA

Date & Local time: April 17th, around 10:15 a.m.

Sharlene Salazar‘s phone rings; it’s her mother. She contemplates not answering and decides otherwise. Her mother nervously tells her something about a strange phone call, and that Adriana, her mother’s cousin’s daughter, was lost somewhere in California without her purse or cell phone. Sharlene patiently listens to her mother, she stays calm. From what she has know about Adriana so far she is not surprised at all, she quickly remembers the two weeks the girl had stayed at her apartment last summer and how she had managed to lose $2000 only to find it an hour later. She gets off the phone, calls Adriana‘s phone and speaks with the finder. She finds out that the girl on the other line had found her phone somewhere on the festival site and that she wanted Adriana to call it so they could meet up. Only her phone, not her passport, wallet and other valuable possessions as her mother had previously thought. She posts on Adriana’s Facebook wall to get in touch with her friends.

Location: Coachella festival site, near Indigo, California, USA

Date & Local time: April 17th, around 7:30 p.m.

Since I had arranged with my friends to meet after the concert at the giant, luminescent mushrooms I decided to just plant myself there and watch out for familiar faces. I was in great company; there was the couple lying on the ground staring at the five meter high installation, tripping on who knows what. Right next to them, a guy with suspiciously red eyes drawing them accompanied by a pill popping long haired individual who every so often attempted what must have been a dance only to stop short after a few seconds. I held on to the few possessions that remained in my guardianship and waited while it got darker and darker. With a professionalism that only TV crime shows can teach you I started planning several emergency scenarios in case I did not find my friends among the other 100,000 people here.

At around 8:00 p.m. I finally saw a familiar face in the crowd. Telling her about my loss, and yes I knew exactly that no one had stolen it, we tried several times to call it. However, since she had a Mexican phone, produced in what seemed like the 1990s, and without the country code for the US (which now I know is +1, of course, how could it have been anything else, bless your heart), we had to give up after several tries. Since I had already gotten over my loss and my interest for any material possessions we decided not to let this ugly event taint our last night.

Location: Coachella festival site, near Indigo, California, USA

Date & Local time: April 18th, around 9:00 a.m.

Girl posts on Adriana‘s Facebook wall, to call her, meet her and pick up her phone before she leaves at 10 a.m.

Location: Hoboken, New Jersey, USA

Date & Local Time: April 18th, around 1:15 p.m

Monica Jung casually checks her best friend Adriana’s Facebook, only to discover that her friend seemed to have lost her phone/purse/wallet. She frantically calls her phone number. A female voice picks up the phone and explains how she had found Adriana‘s phone, etc. Monica understanding that her friend seemed to be incapable of handling her own life arranged with the girl to have the phone shipped from San Francisco to New York.

Location: New York City, New York, USA

Date & Local Time: April 18th, around 1:30 p.m.

Fabia Neser‘s phone rings, on the other end her roommate’s friend Monica. In a panicked, high pitched voice she quickly gets filled into the issue. Recalling the last summer when she and Adriana went traveling together in California she remembered how Adriana had misplaced her room keys three times in one day only to later throw her jacket into the hostels dirty laundry basket instead of her towel.

She was not worried, she knew her friend and knew that with or without phone Adriana would manage to get home one way or the other. However, she did resent the idea of not having asked for a copy of her travel information.

Location: Marburg, Hessen, Germany

Date & Local time: April 18th, around 7:00 p.m.

Eucaris’s phone rings. She picks up to the voice of her cousin Nubia living in New York, her heart automatically beats faster. Nubia tells her that her younger daughter Adriana had been at a festival in California, where she had lost her phone. Eucaris vaguely recalls her daughter telling her about something happening in LA while at the same time cursing herself out for not paying more attention to her surroundings and cursing her daughter out for the same. Why didn’t she ask for a copy of the flight information? Why hadn’t she asked where exactly she was going and with whom? She started feeling nauseous. Her cousin was telling her that her daughter Sharlene had spoken to the girl who found the phone and that she was trying to figure things out.

After hanging up she goes and tells her husband about the mess her little baby had made accusing him of convincing her to let her baby leave her side and move across the Atlantic Ocean.

Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina

Date & Local Time: April 18th, around 1:30 p.m.

Luis Jesus Murcia reviews his niece Eucaris’s Facebook wall. He comes across a post she had made a little earlier on her youngest daughter’s wall. Not wanting to intrude into family complications he leaves a simple greeting and a quick inquiry about everyone’s well being on his niece’s daughter Adriana’s wall.

Discussion Questions

  • Why would somebody want to read this piece (the “Who cares?” factor)?
  • Can you clearly identify the author’s intention for the piece?
  • How well does the author support the intention of the piece? Cite specific details that support or take away from the author’s intention.
  • Is there information missing from this piece that would make its intention clearer? What else would you like to know?
  • Does the author portray herself as a round character? How does she do this?
  • Do you trust the author of this piece? Why or why not?
  • How clearly does the author establish a sense of setting/space in this piece? Cite specific details that support your claim.
  • How clearly does the author establish characters other than the self in this piece? Cite specific details that support your claim.
  • Did you learn anything new from reading this piece? If so, what?
  • Are there particular passages with engaging language/description that stood out to you? Describe the appeal of these passages.
  • Would you read more writing from this author? Why or why not?

 

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See the World by Adriana Pauly is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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