Friday, August 26, 2016

To Be Back at the Keyboard Again

The last two weeks went by in a blur. I didn’t even have time to unpack my suitcase from my Writers Police Academy trip until I’d been home almost a week. What with WPA and then a busy too weeks of seminars and finishing our corporate taxes, my writing got put on hold. I think I was feeling writing deprived and started seeing stories wherever I went.

Yesterday we stopped for lunch on the way to our seminar.

It was at the end of lunch, but before happy hour and the place was mostly empty. The waitress was working as bartender as well. The manager delivered the food. There were two people at the bar with a lot of space between them. The white haired man was nursing a glass of white wine and was talking about New York to someone. All I could see of the woman, who sat several stools away, was her dark hair and her rather prim looking knitted caplet. She had an amber colored drink. Eventually the white haired man said something about shipping containers being used to make housing for homeless people and apparently it interested her because she began to talk to him

Then he asked if she minded if he moved closer so he wouldn’t have to yell, but with a bunch of disclaimers about it meaning anything else. I guess she agreed because then he was sitting next to her. As their conversation continued, I wondered if he’d really meant what he said about not trying to pick her up. She ordered another drink. But he drained is wine glass and then with a wave, headed for the door. So I guess he was just a guy looking for someone to talk to.

At a table nearby a man in scrubs was sitting on the edge of his seat leaning forward as he talked to a blond woman. She was making enough gestures with her hair to count as flirting. She also was leaning toward him. I watched them with interest until they got up and left through a side door. What was their story? Did she work for him? Was he hoping for dessert? It sure looked like something was going on.

There was a lot of action going on behind the bar. An espresso machine was being installed. The salesman/installer was demonstrating it to the employees. He had the nonchalance of someone who could probably work the machine in his sleep. However, the employees appeared to be tense about learning all the ins and outs of the complicated machine.

It reminded me of when I got the operator job at the phone company a long, long time ago. I worked at an old fashioned switchboard and wore an equally old fashioned headset that pinched your ear by the end of the day. There were so many things to learn. We handled coin phone calls, so I’d have to tell someone when their three minutes were up (remember that?) And at the end of the call, tell them how much to put into the phone. I had to tell the coins by the sound. There were different colored clips to put on the cords. There was no 911 yet, so I had to learn how to handle emergency calls. And be speedy about all of it. I remembered feeling like I’d never be able to manage it. But then one day, there I was clipping those cords, collecting coins, getting the fire department places and dealing with person to person and collect calls as if it was all nothing special.

We left while they were still figuring out the espresso machine. I hoped they’re experience would be like mine. And now it’s back to work on A Tangled Yarn. What a relief to be writing again.


ldosborn said...

So observant ! You will no doubt turn your lunch experiences into events in one of your upcoming books. I was surprised to get an email saying Margaret Coel is ending her Wind River series after 20 books--that is another set of characters that just grab you and become "friends", like Molly and all her crew. By the way, my daughter just finished "Seams Like Murder", and had the same reaction to the ending as I did. We laughed and commented that Molly and Mason will never get to that weekend in Coronado--Barry will probably set up a roadblock looking for suspects headed for the border !!! Keep writing, whatever the seminars, don't let them distract you too much ! Linda

Linda O. Johnston said...

It's fun watching other people, isn't it? Especially when they get our own minds moving and possibly inspire story ideas!

L aura's Reading said...

I love listening to a writer's mind and observations at work.
Your mention of learning the sounds of the coins made me smile. We now have a GPS unit in the car that tells us a right turn by doing two tones, low then high and a left turn by the same two turns, high than low. My significant other says he'll never learn to differentiate them. Wait until I ask him the sound of a dime vs a nickel.

I was also an operator but after the cables and clips.
At WPA I was remembering my duties to clear the hospital parking lot for the helicopter.
It is funny how former job memories come back to our present moments.

Betty Hechtman said...

Ldosborn, I laughed out loud at the idea of Barry setting up a roadblock.

Betty Hechtman said...

Linda, I love to people watch. I went to Disneyland on Friday and the people watching was primo.

Betty Hechtman said...

Laura, so you were at WPA too. Wasn't it great. Wow, you cleared a parking lot so a helicopter could land. That sounds like an exciting job!