I people watch and eavesdrop when I’m out in public. I’ll bet you do too. Isn’t that a “writer” thing? My mind is always taking in details of how people look, walk, talk, interact, etc. when I’m in public places. If they’re interesting, I file them away and bring them out later as a character in a story.
I listen to conversations, too. Sometimes it’s just an interesting snippet. Other times,I hear a couple arguing or siblings bickering back and forth. I want my characters in my stories and novels to be as realistic as the ones I encounter…the well-dressed older woman with her matching jewelry, fashionable sandals, and beautifully coiffed silver hair, the family of four – the two boys spitting images of their father, down to his unruly black hair and his loosey-goosey walk, the senior citizen who ate his apple pie with impeccable manners, then brought a fingertip to his mouth, moistened it, and used it to pick up crumbs from the counter. All were patrons in the restaurant I dined in tonight.
One elderly couple, both with canes, sat side-by-side in a booth across from me. Their server was a particularly friendly young man, tall, and he squatted so he would be on eye-level with the customers. He spoke to the pair. “Your drinks will be right out. Would you like gravy with those biscuits?”
“No,” answered the white-haired gentleman.
“Well, if you want anything at all, you just let me know.”
When the server left, the old man boomed, “You want a big tip. That’s what you want.”
I smiled into my coffee cup and made a mental note of the conversation.
I’ll remember it.
And I just may use it someday.