126 Dayton, OH: Witness

I was reminded how polite and deferential Daytonians were when I stood in front of the painting to interview people and no one came over, as if only one person at a time were allowed to look at it. Finally, I approached a blond ponytailed girl. She wore a white T-shirt that said the name of her college and "2001 Australia." Every other cloth that she wore was also white: shorts, socks, and shoes. Her striking light blue eyes were upstaged by crooked lipstick beneath.

When I asked if people in Dayton were isolated, she barked, "I think so. Not geographically, but they're emotionally isolated. A lot of people are in their own world. They don't meet your eyes. When you come to the city, no one wants to be bothered in communities where we're witnessing and things like that. We come downtown on Friday nights to do street witnessing."

It took me a while to realize she meant this word in the way of born-again Christians.

I asked if High Noon gave her a sense of isolation. "Yeah," she said. "When I saw this one, it's interesting 'cause… nothing! Like there's nothing there. What is the point he's trying to make? Sometimes I think the title of a painting has secret meaning. In this case, I think there's significance in the time of day. The light and how it looks. Though I don't know. What's the big deal about?"

With that and a shrug, she went to witness some other paintings.

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