It’s been a little bit since I was last on here. And while part of me feels bad about ducking out for (holy tacos!) almost a month, it’s a small part. Because I’ve been busy, mostly writing. And given the quality of stuff I’ve been producing…
I was reminded today how awesome it can be to do writing research. Researching stuff for your story has all kinds of awesome ramifications aside from helping your story sound like it knows what it’s doing. It makes you feel like you’re being a productive writerly-type (because writing itself SOMETIMES feels like this and sometimes doesn’t) and you learn all kinds of neat, random information, the kind of stuff that makes people fight to be your Trivia partner because you are the Knower of Normally-Useless Factoids.
And researching is (apparently) also good for deterring unwanted advances.
Case in point, today’s little stretch at Starbucks when a guy approached and stood behind my computer screen (I was sitting in an armchair in the corner) waiting for me to notice him. Just standing there. Not saying anything. Just WAITING…all creepy-like.
So I finally sigh and partially close my screen and look up at him.
“Can I help you?”
He smiles. “You just look very lonely over here.”
“You mean, sitting my myself doing work? Carefully sequestered in the corner chair? By myself?”
(I should note here that while that may have come off kind of confrontational, I did make sure to smile when I said it, hoping he’d get the hint. He had the body language and expression that said “I want to talk, but I don’t really know what I’m going to say, so I’ll just poke you a bit, conversationally, and then hit back the easy balls you lob at me so I don’t really have to carry this conversation but can still come across looking like I am. This is designed to make me appear approachable and non-intimidating.”)
So, oblivious to my verbal cues, he just nods, still smiling. “Uh-huh. So…whatcha working on?”
I hate this question. Hate it with the burning passion of a thousand suns. Because it means that I’m talking to (or being talked at by) a person who doesn’t get subtle hints. I don’t have a problem talking with people who want to talk to me, for whatever reason, but I typically don’t appreciate being interrupted to do it. ESPECIALLY when I’m obviously in the middle of something. And because this person doesn’t get subtle hints, I usually wind up bordering on rudeness before they finally understand that I’m not interested in talking. And I don’t like being rude, really.
“I’m doing research.”
“Neurotoxins?” He frowned. “What kind of neurotoxins? Why?”
“The kind rattlesnakes produce.” I smiled, all nonchalantly. “I need to kill someone. And I need it to be REALLY painful.”
He looked at me, with one of those down-the-nose looks that people give when they’re trying to figure out if you’re kidding or not, like they’re looking over the top of invisible sunglasses.
“Gotcha. Well, good luck with the research.” And out the door he went.
I can’t help but think that an incident like this will somehow help my story. Kind of the way a ham hock subtlely flavors pinto beans when you’re cooking, even though you take the ham hock out before eating the beans. …And I can’t really find a suitable way to wrap up that analogy without sounding dirty….so….
I’ll try to be more prompt for future posts. Promise.