I know I have.
As I write this, I’m sitting in Ronald Reagan airport after attending Malice Domestic. As posted in Gloria Alden’s blog, it was a wild weekend, but so is being in the airport. In the main aisle to my left, a rather rotund man, the lines of his rugby shirt making his stomach seem even wider when contrasted to the tiny badge dangling against his midriff, is standing three steps up a five-step green ladder trying to reset one of those giant TVs that constantly blasts news and advertisements. Surprisingly, it appears that the reset button is like the one at home I push when my husband falls asleep on the remote and wonders why the power connection to his favorite television isn’t working right.
The reason I’m staring at this man and wondering what other high-level maintenance jobs he does at the airport with his ladder and backpack, is that I don’t want to turn around. There is a coach, in a blue shirt with a National Science Bowl emblem on it, admonishing the three students whose seats back up to mine. I snuck a peek a few minutes ago, but don’t dare look back again. He wasn’t smiling as he bent near the boys, who wear the same shirt as him. Each student appears to represent a different nationality. All seem like typical teens – earbuds and either a telephone or some other handheld device. He’s telling them “I expect you to act appropriately. You represent the school and yourselves. We’ll talk about this more when we get back, but in the meantime ….”
I wait until he leaves them sitting there before I glance backwards again. He’s moved a few seats from them and still is glaring in their direction. One has popped his earbuds back in his ears and one is playing with his phone, but the third boy is sitting rigid, staring at an unseen object straight ahead. The side of his mouth that I can see is frowning. Is he being wrongfully accused of something? Being put in a position to take the fall for someone else? The guilty party? Mad at the coach? Guilty for what he did? I don’t know.
What I do know, is both the maintenance man and the boys and their coach have given me gems of ideas that may end up in stories. That’s the beauty of being a writer – we can take the things we see and hear and make up the most bizarre things about them. Sometimes, we even get paid for our embellishments. What more can we ask?
Excuse me if I don’t write more. Another plane just landed, and one is getting ready to take off. I’m not sure what stories those arriving or embarking passengers will spur, but I bet the lady holding a purple wallet who is dressed in flip flops, green skin tight Danskin pants, a multi-colored muumuu top, and a scrunchy holding a pony tail that reaches to her waist will end up being filed away in my brain for a future work.