Friday, April 8, 2011

Am I odd and unusual, too?

You know how sometimes you meet someone and you think, “This guy would make a great story character.” Maybe he looks unusual or has an odd way of saying things or an interesting way of approaching situations.
I knew a guy once who drove me nuts. He would make a comment, an ordinary comment like you and I might make in an everyday conversation, a comment that wouldn’t normally require a response, but then he’d stop and look you in the face and say, “Huh?” He’d stare unblinkingly and say, “Huh?” again until you responded. And he wouldn’t do this every once in a while, it would be about every second or third sentence.
“Larry, look at that cat.” Expectant stare. “Huh?”
“Um, yep.”
“My sister had a Siamese once. It was meaner than hell, clawed at the curtains.” Stare. “Huh?”
“Oh…yeah, they do that I guess.”
“Two years, she got rid of it… Huh?” Stare.
“Huh?” Stare.
“Yeah… well… I gotta go.”
If you were lucky, he wouldn’t follow you, “huh?”-ing out the door.
I knew another guy, an ordinary guy, except he had long white hair and a big bushy beard and mustache. His face was a white ball of fuzz with eyes. When he was thinking, he’d stick out his bottom lip like he was making a roost for pigeons. You’d see him standing there, then the fuzz would part, and there was a pink lip, then it would disappear and reappear again. An interesting visual.
Then there’s this gal who walks around town with a cordless house phone up to her ear having loud animated conversations with no one.
I often wonder, “Do these people know that they are quirky or odd or unusual?” And I wonder if they find me the same way. Maybe I am as clueless about it as they are. Maybe everyone is someone else’s character.
Characters are everywhere, but they don’t always fit your story. We have a few “characters” in our story, but most of them are normal, ordinary people acting as normal as they can in the extraordinary situations we put them in…Huh?

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