Thursday, 26 April 2012

W is for Watching

I think one of  the key traits of a writer is nosiness. Sorry, keen observational skills. Not to mention surreptitious note taking on napkins and receipts. I usually carry a notebook, and I find quick photos with the mobile phone also very helpful.

We were stuck at a service station a few weeks ago, in a Costa, having a tea break. A dapper man in his fifties or so came in with a younger woman, maybe early thirties. they were very affectionate and flirty. He was wearing a wedding ring, she wasn't. I could hardly sit down and ask them, in a non-judgemental, curious way, 'are you having an affair?' But I could shepherd my husband away from the inviting sofas and towards the hard backed chairs right behind them. Her name was Cheryl, I think, but it might have been Cherie for all I know. (Maybe he was French!) She just called him darling, about twice every sentence.

Anyway, being a bit road-dazed, it took the husband a while to realise what I was doing (I think my actually pulling out a notebook may have tipped him off.) But, so much research! He can't complain, he writes songs on the fly, and once wrote a love song that you realise slowly is a stalker talking about his victim. I think he got that off something written in the sand on the beach.

PS This is not an endorsement of Costa coffee or of affairs. I don't drink coffee, for a start. 

14 comments:

  1. hahah! Great post. I was literally fist-pumping when I read: I think one of the key traits of a writer is nosiness.

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    1. And people are so interesting. It's why I became a therapist, I think!

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  2. Excellent post. I absolutely love people watching. I'm going to do it much more actively now, with notebook to hand.

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    1. Notebook, definitely. You can make your phone record, as well, really we should go to spy school...

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  3. Haha. You deny drinking coffee, but don't mention affairs. Lovely post, interesting and well-written.

    http://francene-wordstitcher.blogspot.com/

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    1. My husband might read this, it doesn't hurt to keep him on his toes...

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  4. I usually get a look on my face, so my boyfriend says, when he knows I'm listening in to some situation or another. He can be halfway through a sentence and I'll just hone in on something else, a slight turn of the head perhaps, miniscule, but he knows he's lost me. It is an absolutely essential part of being a writer. And blogger. I'm not nosey, I'm just interested in the way people interact...

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    1. People are fascinating, aren't they? And out of all that observation come characters, so we can't be blamed.

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  5. that is so funny (not ha ha, but coincidental!)
    i recently wrote a short story about a barista concerned about a philandering man in a cafe!

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    1. Maybe there are loads of philanderers in coffee bars. Writers notice these things...

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  6. People-watching is fascinating, I find myself making up stories about them sometimes.

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    1. I love doing that, especially if I see two people out together but not talking. Why aren't they talKing? Who are they, anyway? I find the stories get more outrageous as they get older, older people have more history!

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  7. If I had a penny for every time I peered at the neighbours through my binoculars...perhaps I made a mistake when I chose my career.

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    1. It's just creepy when you notice them looking back...

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