Do you find you have a constant curiosity about other people?
As a writer, I find I do.
My day job as a shop assistant gives me lots of time to observe others and I find myself forever wondering about them.
There’s the old lady who comes in every other day. She wheels her walker down the isles, her shoulders hunched over. Her grey head always faces down until she reaches a till. One could almost assume she is in pain or crying until you see her face. She smiles and chats as she buys the few items she picked up. She tells how she went to bingo but didn’t win anything and how her husband is at home ill. She just wants someone to talk to.
Another is the woman who rushes in on her lunch break. Three times a week she runs through a till, her cheeks flushed and her hair mushed. In a frazzled state, she buys is a small bottle of wine. She is always friendly but always in a hurry. I wonder why she buys the wine. Is she an alcoholic? Does she need it to get through the day? Or is it her treat in the evening, to celebrate a job well done?
A young man often comes in too. He’s extremally tall and handsome. He speaks with an accent and chats as he buys energy drinks. He makes jokes as he tries to carry them to his car and laughs at himself when he drops them. He’s so friendly, I wonder why he’s always alone.
And then there are the nasty people. The ones who expect too much. Who think they are better than a shop assistant. Who believe that the customer is always right. They moan about everything and look down their nose at us.
All these people are unique, but they have one thing in common. They interest me. I find myself thinking about them, making up their life stories in my head. I imagine what they do in their spare time. What makes the woman drink? What makes the nasty people so bitter?
I will never get the answers to my questions, but that’s one good thing about being a writer.
I don’t need them.
Their life stories can be anything I desire.
Each one sparks an idea for a new character, each one provides material for my stories.
Some may call it nosiness but I’m going to settle on…INSPIRATION!