Before we get started today, everyone should go visit my Agency Sistah, the hilarious Linda Grimes. Today on her blog you get a double-dose of obnoxious humor as she interviews me for part of the “Pay it Forward” series.
While you’re there, you could also consider reading her excellent post about avoiding the temptation to drown your readers in backstory.
While I agree with her 110% about backstory data-dump, her tale of the uncomfortable airplane conversation forces me to admit I kind of enjoy awkward interactions with strangers. I like to file them away in my brain so I can dig them up later and use them in my books.
One such interaction that’s been simmering in the back of my brain for couple years has been begging for inclusion in my current manuscript. Though I haven’t decided yet whether it belongs there, I’ll share it with you for the joy of embarrassing myself in public:
I was holding a garage sale a few years ago and had just started to pack things in for the day when a woman pulled up in a nondescript sedan. She began browsing, picking up a few items for purchase as her kids fought over an empty cardboard box.
Eventually, she made her way to the table where I was packing up a set of unsold dishes.
“Those are fabulous,” she said. “Where did you get them?”
I held up a mug for her inspection. “They actually belong to a co-worker, but she asked me to help sell them for her.”
She gave me a confused look. “No, your boobs. They’re great. Where did you have them done?”
I stared at her for a few beats, waiting for the punch line. This had to be a joke, right?
But no, she was serious. And she stood there staring down the front of my tank top in a way that made me want to check my boobs for price tags.
“Um,” I told her, “well, they’re mine. I grew them myself. Would you like to buy some dishes?”
She frowned at me. “They can’t be real. You’re so tiny and – ”
“These dishes are great, did you see the pretty silver trim here?”
Apparently realizing I wasn’t going to bond with her over my non-existent boob job, she gathered her merchandise, requested an embarrassingly large discount, and drove away.
I stood there shaking my head long after she’d driven off – probably in search of another garage sale where she could haggle over used undershirts and make inappropriate comments to strangers.
It did make me wonder if there’s a school people attend to learn social skills like that.
If so, I’d like to attend. It would be damn handy for writing.