But spending many hours at the airport (four hours alone on Friday), there's only one thing I could do to help pass the time - people watch. I think 99.9999999% of all writers are people watchers. I eavesdrop, watch the mannerisms of complete strangers, and sometimes even take notes.
I find people fascinating, and I find that it's the subtle things that we do and say that makes each one of us unique. In my writing, it takes a lot of work to make characters real and three-dimensional. And I think people watching is a great way to do research.
Here are examples of people I took notes on just from four hours at Denver's airport:
Super Tall Nasal Guy. This dude was easily 6-foot-five. Lanky, but athletic looking. And the man had a really nice head of hair. Not just a lot of it, but well groomed. Sort of longer, combed, probably conditioned. Wearing workout clothes, but his expensive briefcase reeked of wealth. He was busy with his phone, preparing his sinus passages with constant nasal sprays. I think the guy was addicted to nasal spray.
Angry Woman. She was well dressed, professional. Her laptop and notebook were out, but she was having a personal conversation with her ex-boyfriend/husband. Not a good one. She was telling him that he was inconsiderate. Something about forgetting something - I think he had missed a very important occasion, and I believe it was a birthday party. Her voice was sharp, her left hand clutching a pen as if it were a dagger as she berated him.
Soldiers. One guy was maybe in his middle 40s, reading a book about nutrition. He and the other young man were both in civilian attire, but I knew from their haircuts and camo briefcases they were military. A female in full camo uniform was with them, and she kept reading over the older guy's shoulder and asking how yogurt can help you get skinny. All the while, the young soldier was sucking down a big Ben & Jerry's ice cream. Judging from his lean physique, yogurt and losing weight were the furthest from his mind.
Bad Ass. I ate my turkey wrap sitting next to this dude at my gate. He looked like a cage fighter. Just ripped, and he kept scoping his surroundings as if he expected ninjas to jump out from behind the seats and attack him. His luggage consisted of only an old canvas backpack, which he opened to retrieve a jacket. When we lined up to board our plane, we watched a young couple with a crying infant go on ahead of us into the airbridge. The bad ass turned to me and said, "They're brave."
Drunk Dumbshit. The flight was overbooked, and I had the remaining open seat next to me. The "tardy" passenger came charging up the aisle, his briefcase open and his iPad nearly spilling onto the floor. After sticking his ass in my face as he shoved the case into the final space of compartment room in the bin across from me, he sat down and proceeded to make sure that his elbow spilled into my personal space throughout the two hour flight. He drank a beer, followed by six Bloody Marys. During descent, he decided that he was going to listen to his music despite being told to turn off all electronic devices. He decided to wrap his head with his jacket to conceal the ear buds, but his music was so loud, it was obvious was he was doing. Oh, and he looked absolutely ridiculous. I think he was listening to a John Fogerty song as we landed.
# # # #
As I make my way to the Motor City, I will do the best I can do visit all of you and catch up!