I hope this doesn’t sound too creepy, but I watch people. I don’t mean I spy on them or lurk in bushes and behind displays in shops following people; no, I mean that if for example I’m having a coffee, and, on a table the other side of the room there is an elderly couple in eccentric dress, I might watch them from a distance, observing them, observing how they interact with each other – without of course being able to hear what they say!
I was waiting outside a shop and a man walked past, a big man with two tiny dogs, and as he passed me, the dogs decided to swap places – confusion and difficulty! One nearly tripped the man over, the other didn’t want to change sides, there was a lot of snapping and bad temper as the man tried to calm them both down… I just stood and watched, and watched as they continued a more peaceful process down the street.
I was on a train and the ticket inspector came through; he had a curious gliding walk as if he was actually a couple of inches above the ground; he had a most benign expression, and a sort of clicker in his hand for marking the tickets as he inspected them, and as he moved down the carriage he kept clicking it in his hand ‘clickety-click, clickety-click’.
I was in a book shop and there were two people working there; a young man with a long wispy fringe and long wispy hair which came down the back of his neck was wandering around, with a slightly confused expression on his face – he wasn’t confused, it was just his expression; he helped customers, and answered queries and had such a sweet smile – I thought he probably looked exactly the same as when he was a little boy! The other assistant was very focussed and everything he did was quick and efficient and yet he was ever alert to for a customer needing help and when he helped them he was so lovely and gave them such a stunning smile… I wondered as I observed these two,whether the bookshop had a ‘smile’ policy when they interviewed staff, because both these assistants had such gorgeous, friendly smiles!
So what happens in my mind with these observations, the eccentric old couple, the big man and his dogs, the two people with the lovely smiles who work in the bookshop? They are all filed away and may emerge in one of my stories – but maybe they have changed; maybe the elderly couple have an antiques shop, maybe they are a couple of poets who live by the sea and go beach-combing each day… and the big man, maybe he has a couple of Siamese cats on leads, maybe he is a tattooist to the stars, maybe he has a hairdressing salon, maybe he is a gangsta responsible for a dozen gruesome deaths… The ticket inspector, surely the kindly leader of a religious group, a helpful vicar, an understanding priest, a lovely lama clicking his mala beads as he prays, clickety-click, clickety-click? And the book shop ‘boys’… hmm, I actually think I have something in mind for them!