An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Williamstown (Tentative d'épuisement d'un lieu à Williamstown)
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An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Williamstown (Tentative d'épuisement d'un lieu à Williamstown)

What one does not notice in general, what is not of importance, and what happens when nothing happens in Williamstown from the lens of Tunnel City

An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Williamstown (Tentative d'épuisement d'un lieu à  Williamstown)
Deidre Oakley

The following writing is based on the famous French book Tentative d'épuisement d'un lieu parisien (An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris) written by Georges Perec. In his book, he states that the pages record what one does not generally notice, what one does not recognize in importance, and what happens when nothing happens. Below is my version of that same record but from the perspective of one in a place in Williamstown.


Place: Tunnel City facing the outside and the parking lot behind the bookstore that is being built while I sat behind the window.

Time: 10:03AM 11/17/2016

Le temps: semi cloudy day. Mid 40s outside.

Mood: Busy morning with pedestrians and cars outside. The atmosphere inside is not quiet but not too lively. Light vintage jazz is playing the background. Next to me a young student is studying economics while slowly eating a scone that a friend from his right handed to him. In front of me, outside the window and the shop is a pet dog.

  • Blue jeep passes by
  • A middle aged couple dressed in trench coats walked out. Both have similar hairstyles.
  • Young man walks out of the café with a coffee. Ties his shoes and acknowledges dog and walked up Spring Street.
  • Female owner of the dog came out and also went up Spring Street.
  • Two grey cars drive by.
  • Angela walks in and waves to me.
  • Young man in multilayered outfit walks in.
  • Young woman walking from the parking lot dressed in a Barbour coat walks into Tunnel with arms crossed.
  • 2 more grey cars.Many grey cars. And another.
  • A middle aged man walks out of tunnel city grasping his coffee.
  • Wooliver roofing van turns into parking lot. Black BMW, maroon truck follows right behind.The Wooliver van made a round around the car park and parked near the exit.
  • Large Wohrles since 1921 white semi truck goes up Spring Street.
  • A couple, the man with a water bottle and wife walks down Spring Street.
  • Two middle aged men: one in red plaid shirt.
  • 2 more white vans.
  • Girl with red hair and blue back pack walks in to tunnel city.
  • You g college man walks in with his last name on his grey quarter-zip.
  • A Williams College van drives down Spring Street.
  • Young man wearing many layers leaves café with bagel and coffee in hand. Takes a bite and walks up Spring Street.
  • A woman holding three handbags walks up Spring Street.
  • Wooliver Roofing came out of parking and left.
  • Grey Envoy car parks across the street, at a 15 minute parking zone. Driver appears to be using phone.
  • Two young college boys enter the café.
  • Driver from grey envoy car comes into café. He is wearing a red cap, red jacket.
  • Connor walks down Spring Street towards Doughty house in the parking lot.
  • In the café, a staff is cleaning out the trash which appears to be full.
  • White car parks behind grey Envoy. Middle aged woman steps out and enters tunnel.
  • White truck and GMC white car leaves parking lot.
  • Man with ear phone goes up Spring Street.
  • Sarah walks with her backpack and laptop in her arms in front of her.
  • Jogger runs toward Tunnel City in a grey quarter zip and blue beanie, but suddenly turns right and heads down Spring Street.
  • Blue car goes down Spring Street.
  • Two women, looking like mother and daughter, stops to cross the street and grey Toyota waits. Two women along with another middle aged woman and young man enters tunnel city.
  • Driver of grey envoy enters are with small coffee and drives away.
  • Silver Chevrolet drives down Spring Street with headlights on.
  • Café is now quieter. Less motion behind me. Empty seats along inner wall.
  • Another Wohrle’s car drives down Spring Street.
  • A squirrel climbs up tree next to 15 minute parking street.
  • A female driver with a pug drives into parking lot.
  • Fashionable man with paper in hand, grey pea coat enters café.
  • Two red Toyotas come to the junction of Spring Street and parking lot exit. The red Prius parks at a 15 minute parking zone.
  • Student enters and talk with young man beside be and chats about econometrics.
  • Rocky enters with blue lip stick and maroon dress.
  • Girl in puffer jacket enters.
  • A middle aged woman with sunglass enter Tunnel city.
  • The streets seem empty for a short while.
  • A latina lady carries her baby and a plastic bag filled with books and walks down spring street.
  • The café at this point is filled with mostly middle aged men and a handful of students.
  • Two cars turn into parking lot. One black jeep drives down Spring Street.
  • Instantly, one old lady with over length white wool cardigan walks up Spring Street.
  • 3 young students enter.
  • Driver of white Subaru enters car and drives away
  • Petite older lady with a limp and hair up slowly returns to red Toyota Prius with coffee and patisserie in hand.
  • TD Bank's PT cruiser drives down Spring Street.
  • Balding man walks toward parking lot with grey satchel messenger bag.
  • No wind outside and trees are steady as ever.
  • Young woman with sunglasses exit tunnel city in a rush.
  • Red Subaru parks in 15 minute parking zone exit 2 middle aged women who walks toward Where’d You Get That store.
  • Two cars with their headlights on exit the parking lot.
  • Nothingness.
  • Tess and Nica enter Tunnel City. We hugged and chat. Talked about Friday plans with Nica.
  • Two convertible cars of the same model and color drives down Spring Street
  • Man with the hair like Albert Einstein walks from parking lot. A grumpy Einstein.Walks toward other entrance of tunnel to go to the bathroom.
  • Middle aged man with a small blue Herschel backpack…never thought I would see that.
  • Large soccer mom van, red again, parks at 15 minute parking zone.
  • Tess orders unknown flavor of muffin and sits outside in front of my view.
  • Lady with galaxy and space colored quarter-zip smiles at me and I smile back as she exits tunnel city.
  • Blond young man enters tunnel city.
  • Interracial couple walks down Spring Street appearing likely in their 40s.
  • Nica joins Tess outside with coffee and muffin.
  • Woman from large soccer mom van returns to van with two coffees.
  • Professor walks out of tunnel city with black pea coat and vintage style hat.
  • Three greenish blue Patagonia jackets under one roof. I am not surprised.
  • Angry Einstein sits next to me.
  • Outside, pedestrians are everywhere.
  • Blue car exits parking lot.
  • Grey car enters parking lot.
  • Black truck drives down Spring Street.
  • LARGE WHITE Fedex cars comes down Spring Street in front of my view but backs up and parks outside of Where’d You Get That store.
  • Mother and daughter duo leaves tunnel city.
  • Berkshire organics van drives down Spring Street.
  • Man who helped put my thumb drive to the lost and found area and emailed me enters tunnel city.
  • Girl with purple hair in a petite bun, tan scarf, and coral bag enters tunnel and goes behind counter to start her shift.

The time is 10:50 am. The café is busier than before. Sound of brewing drinks and people chatting is louder. Couples are seen inside and outside of the café. Young couple stops to check the woman’s phone. Sky is still grey and typical winter weather. Vintage classics and deep baritone voice of man singing sets the mood. A drop of water dripped from the outside awning. Life continues in sleepy Williamstown.


Le Lieu : Tunnel City. Je m’assoies en face de la grande fenêtre à travers laquelle je peux voir tout ce qui se passe à l’extérieur et l’intérieur de Tunnel City. Dehors, il y a un parking, des chaises et des tables qui appartiennent au café. Il n’y a qu’une seule rue, Spring Street qui devient une rue en sens unique à l’entrée du parking.

La date et l’heure : 17 novembre 2016 10h03

Le temps : Il fait froid. La température est d’environs 40 degrés. Le ciel est gris.

L’atmosphère : C’est un matin assez animé avec beaucoup de piétons et de voitures. L’atmosphère à l’intérieur du café n’est pas silencieuse mais elle n’est pas non plus très bruyante. Il y a de la musique jazz vintage qui joue en fonds. A côté de moi, un jeune homme étudie l’économie en mangeant un scone que son ami lui a donné. Devant moi et à travers la fenêtre, un golden retriever a sa laisse attachée autour d’un pilier.

  • Une jeep bleue roule sur Spring Street.
  • Un couple d’âge moyen habillé de trench-coats sort du café. Les deux ont la même coiffure courte.
  • Un jeune homme quitte le café avec sa boisson. Il s’arrête et attache ses chaussures, joue avec le chien et descend la rue.
  • La maîtresse du chien quitte le café et descend la rue.
  • Deux voitures grises passent.
  • Angela Tang rentre et me dit bonjour.
  • Un jeune homme habillé de beaucoup de couches de vêtements entre dans le café.
  • Une jeune femme marche du parking et porte un manteau Barbour et entre dans le café avec ses bras croisés.
  • Encore deus voitures grises. Et une autre.
  • Un homme d’âge moyen sort de Tunnel City en tenant son café.
  • Une camionnette de Wooliver Roofing tourne dans le parking. Une BMW noire et un truck marron suivent la camionnette. La camionnette tourne dans le parking et se gare près de la sortie.
  • Une grande semi-remorque avec les mots « Wohrles Since 1921 » descend Spring Street.
  • Un homme qui tient une bouteille d’eau marche dans la rue avec sa femme.
  • Deux camionnettes blanches passent.
  • Une étudiante avec les cheveux rouges et un sac à dos bleu entre dans Tunnel City.
  • Un bel étudiant entre dans le café avec son nom, Johnson, écrit sur sa manche.
  • Une camionnette de Williams College passe.
  • L’homme avec beaucoup de couches de vêtements quitte le café avec sa boisson et un bagel dans les mains. Il mord dans le bagel et descend Spring Street.
  • Une femme portant trois sacs marche rapidement dans la rue.
  • Wooliver Roofing sort du parking.
  • Une Envoy grise se gare de l’autre côté de la rue sur une place limitée à quinze minutes. Le conducteur utilise son portable.
  • Deux étudiants entrent dans le café.
  • Le conducteur de l’Envoy entre dans le café. Il porte un chapeau et une veste rouges.
  • Mon ami qui s’appelle Connor rentre chez lui mais il est trop loin de moi pour lui dire salut.
  • Dans le café, un employé sort la poubelle qui est pleine.
  • Une voiture blanche se gare derrière l’Envoy. Une femme d’âge moyen descend de la voiture et entre dans le café.
  • Un camion blanc et une GMC blanche quittent le parking.
  • Un coureur dans un pull gris court vers Tunnel City mais il tourne à droite et descend Spring Street.
  • Une voiture bleue descend la rue.
  • Le conducteur de l’Envoy grise avec sa boisson retourne à sa voiture.
  • Une Chevrolet grise passe avec ses feux de croisement allumés.
  • Le café est plus silencieux maintenant. Il y a des chaises libres.
  • Un autre camion Wohrle passe.
  • Un écureuil monte à un arbre à côté du panneau de quinze minutes parking.
  • Une femme conduit sa voiture avec un carlin sur les genoux.
  • Deux Toyota rouges arrivent au carrefour de Spring Street et de la sortie du parking. La Prius rouge se gare sur la place limitée à 15 minutes.
  • Un étudiant entre et parle d’économétries avec le mec à côté de moi.
  • Mon amie Rocky entre mais elle ne me voit pas.
  • Une femme d’âge moyen avec des lunettes de soleil entre dans le café.
  • Une femme latina passe en tenant son bébé et un sac plein de livres.
  • Deux voitures entre dans le parking.
  • Une vieille femme avec un cardigan blanc et trop long descend la rue.
  • Trois étudiants entrent.
  • Le conducteur de la Subaru monte dans sa voiture.
  • Une vieille femme marche en boitant.
  • Une PT Cruiser de TD Bank passe dans la rue.
  • Il n’y a pas de vent et les arbres sont immobiles.
  • La femme avec les lunettes de soleil quitte le café rapidement.
  • Une Subaru rouge se gare sur la stationnement limité à 15 minutes. Deux femmes d’âge moyen descendent et entrent dans le magasin à côté du café.
  • Mes amis Tess and Nica entrent et me serrent dans leurs bras.
  • Deux voitures décapotables du même modèle passent en même temps sur Spring Street.
  • Un homme qui ressemble à Albert Einstein s’approche du café. Il ressemble à un Einstein bougon. Il entre dans le café par une autre entrée.
  • Un grand camion se gare au stationnement de quinze minutes.
  • Tess s’assoit en dehors de café devant moi.
  • Un couple interracial descend Spring Street.
  • Nica se joint à Tess à l’extérieur.
  • Une femme retourne à sa grande voiture avec deux cafés dans les mains.
  • Un professeur quitte le café avec un manteau noir et un chapeau très cool et vintage.
  • Soudainement, l’Einstein bougon s’assoit à ma gauche et sort son ordinateur.
  • Dehors, il y a des piétons partout.
  • Une voiture bleue puis une voiture grise passent.
  • Un gigantesque semi-remorque de Fedex descend Spring Street et bloque ma vue. Mais soudainement, ilconduit en marche arrière et se gare devant Where’d You Get That.
  • Une camionnette de Berkshire Organics descend Spring Street.
  • Le garçon qui avait trouvé mon disque flash entre dans le café.
  • Une fille avec un chignon violet, une écharpe beige et un sac de couleur corail entre dans Tunnel City et va derrière le comptoir pour commencer son travail.

Il est 10H50. Le café est plus fréquenté qu’avant. Le son des boissons en préparation et les bavardages sont plus bruyants. Une jeune couple s’arrête devant moi pour regarder quelque chose sur le portable de la femme. Le ciel est encore gris. C’est typique d’un jour d’hiver. La musique vintage et la voix baryton d’un chanteur créent une atmosphère confortable. La vie quotidienne continue dans la petite ville endormie de Williamstown.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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