The Selfie Artist


For many of you this tragedy will hit very close to home… It took place the other day, in the back parking lot of my apartment complex. It was a morning, not substantially different from others, save for one thing. I noticed it outside. It was prolonged activity within a car (that was kind of near my truck, The Thunderclap). These theatrics were taking place in the setting of a red Honda Civic, my interest was piqued. Peering out our living room window, as I do, frequent to examine inconsistencies near, I noticed something strange. I parted the blinds carefully, and behold! There was a girl in her car staring into her phone…

A Side Note: Living in SE (Minneapolis) affords these luxuries. It is mostly quiet, save for some oddities. We have Turtle Car Guy, who drives a car designed to look like a turtle.  I want to design a Rabbit Truck to be its adversary.  When I asked him what had inspired him to do such a thing (create the Turtle Car), he told me he was unemployed and had nothing else to do, so he bought some spray-paint and went at it, logically. It sits in front of his parent’s house next door.  I would also like to point out our former neighbors across the street who would frequently be domestically assaulting one another in the middle of the street, in the middle of the day, on my fucking birthday (once). Sadly they moved away. Fuck, if I don’t get TV I’ll get something from the community, right? One would ogle out the window often with this kind of tasty activity.

While reading American Lit., something like Frederick Douglass (Bailey), whatever name he went by, in between coffee and words, and eggs and toast, I caught a glimpse of this act. Our neighbor, in all her good graces, and intent, was literally in her car, door open, taking selfies. She had all the different shots, canted and shit, probably no filter. -See, this event isn’t all that amazing, what is amazing is the amount of time allotted for such a production. I kept reading and she kept snapping.

I waited for some time, from 10:15 am to about 10:45 am to look outside again, and there she sat, phone in hand, extended. Wow, I mean, wow. She had her phone out, getting the best angles, she was smiling, tilting her head, flipping her hair. This scene was like something directly out of Facebook, or Gilda. It was almost hard to believe the conviction of this self-portrait-ist, selfie master. She was on point, and Pinterest, and tumblr, and instagram…   Probably.  This artist had taken it to another level. I stood there, sipped my coffee, and shut the blinds.

Now it was time to leave, I had just about forgotten this whole situation in the back lot, between the Narrative of the Life of a Slave and The Current’s morning banter, what all. I took a piss, put my coat on, slung my bag, checked everything 50 times because I am OCD, and locked the door (another 50 checks). I was heading out the front because I had brought my bike in the house the night before. I was ready to go; tight bundled. I walked through the security door, fancy, and prepared myself to kick the front door open and in one foul swoop carry myself and my bike to the sidewalk where I depart.

As I kicked open the door and ran down the steps, bike clunking below, I noticed something, there was a girl standing there. Not just any girl though, this girl was familiar -perhaps I had seen her the night before, perhaps not. I stopped, she looked nice, and I figured she was my neighbor, matter of fact she was. Now I understood. She was the neighbor in the car taking selfies, the artist. She must have finished and come to the front of the apartment complex to… I don’t know, wait… Ponder her next artistic creation…


Between writing my magnum opus, today, now, I am interrupted to be told that my shoes scuff the floors and I am to not wear them again. I look at the mess I have made… I say, at least you know where I’ve been. My manager does not laugh. Something trivial, again, makes me smile.


I am standing there, bike in hand, in front of my apartment building. I must talk to this person. I must know this progressive free-thinking artist. I must! It starts:

Hey, don’t I know you…?

Yeah, I saw you inside last night… I live in apartment number (doesn’t matter)…

Oh yeah, we chatted for a bit when I walked out last night.

Yeap, we did… I’m Mike-

I’m Lana*, I live in apartment (doesn’t matter)…

Cool, so… (Here we talk about where she is from (South), what she does (Student), if she can handle the Minnesota winters (Maybe), life, and finally the best part)…

What are you doing outside?

Well… I locked my keys in my car…

At this moment I knew I needed to leave. I could hardly contain my laughter. I was convulsing, it was visible; this dry heaves kind of laugh stuck in me, but almost bubbling out. I could not help it. I thought to myself, this girl is standing here because she was in her car for a half an hour taking selfies and when she exited, and shut and locked her door, after taking the best shots of course, she left her keys inside of her car, locking herself out of her apartment, only to have the one person in the world who would know of said occurrences come out and meet her face to face while she stands waiting for our landlord to arrive with spare keys. Yes, with a capital Y. It was all too much, I had to shut my phone off.

I coast away, she waits for someone to help her out of this FIRST WORLD PLIGHT SITUATION. I thought of the bigger picture; did I just shit my pants? I wonder how much I let social media control my life- moreover- vanity control my life. There is nothing like a crisp bike ride to school, headphones out, helmet on, autumn leaves on the ground, wind blowing in my face, and thoughts of people taking selfies pre locking themselves out of their lives for the time being.


About Terry Scott Niebeling

Hello, My name is Terry Scott, a human being with flaws. twitter: @sirterryscott Buy my ebooks:
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