Slice of Life Story Challenge March 24 -The Twitchy Fingered Woman With A Pressing Need

It was a small moment in the course of my morning. I stood at a pedestrian crossing on a busy main road. I stood as an anonymous individual among a group of other anonymous individuals. Temporary statues silently waiting for the traffic lights to change, so we could safely cross the busy roadway ahead of us. Ten people waiting patiently for the lights to change. Ten people waiting for the traffic to stop zooming past. The lights are activated by the pressing a button positioned on a steel pole adjacent to the walk way. The pedestrian crossing stretched across the lanes of traffic. This defined zone becomes a temporary safe walking area only when the lights decree. Everyone in the group rightly assumed the first person to arrive had placed a request for the green light and had pressed the button as is the usual practice in these situations.  

As we waited in silence, another person arrived. -A woman, in a dark coloured coat. Person eleven. She gradually worked her way through those already waiting until she was standing next to the crossing button. You could sense her twitchiness. And then she did it. She actually reached out and pressed the button. I wonder if anyone else noticed her brief single press. Was it an instinctive gesture? Did she lack faith in the rest of us? Was she merely pressed for time? Did her agitation for change overcome her patience? Who knows? About twenty seconds later the green light flashed in our favour, and we, the assembled, moved out and across the roadway. The twitchy fingered woman bolted briskly across the great divide, before disappearing into a supermarket on the other side.  The rest of us negotiated the crossing before continuing our respective journeys through the day.

This was a small moment in time. Writers are watchers. We notice things. Small things. That's what sets us apart.


  1. The art of paying attention is what I love most about Slice of Life. I have not done enough small moments this year. Need to focus and pay attention.

  2. This made me chuckle. as a child I always looked forward to pressing "the button"! But I have also stood with a group watching the lights slide right past the "cross" in a familiar light pattern and had to be the twitchy fingered woman. Thanks for making me smile this morning :-))

  3. I love the small small moment in time and the great detail that you added to this writing. It was crisp and clear. I could feel the group waiting and the last to join quickly pushing the button.

  4. Writers are watchers, and you are a master at both. This is so filled with details, it is a perfect mentor text. I will be saving this to pull out and study over and over. Now the question begs to be asked, had the button been pushed or did everyone just assume it had? Something to ponder. :-)

  5. Focus is seemingly a lost art. We don't allow ourselves to stop much and just watch and think. Those moments when we can't do anything else are precious. I love how you've taken this moment and layered on all you noticed and your thoughts the noticings provoked.

  6. I notice those things, and now you have me wondering what was so important to hurry to the grocery? And because the light changed shortly after she pushed, did she think she was "the" one who made it happen? I was told those buttons are to help people be patient, that they aren't always activated. The lights change when they change, & the button doesn't help. Good watching, Alan!


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