I travel a fair amount, for vacations, family obligations, writer’s conferences. I always have a book with me, but am usually up for conversations. Because sometimes the only thing better than people watching is people listening...
My most memorable “fellow passenger” was a soldier who had enlisted to avoid the gang life that had taken his brother. He was open and ambitious and articulate, and definitely contributed to the “heroes” I write today.
But then there was the honeymoon couple who bickered from London to Los Angeles (and are probably only memories to each other now).
And the woman who was stone cold to my family and me--until she learned that I, too, was a writer. Afterwards, my husband said, "Looks like you made a new friend."
I can’t forget the lovely chef who dictated recipes to me for moms who don’t like to cook.
Or the hottie from my single days who only came alive to lean over me and flirt with the flight attendant. (Just call me Chopped Liver.)
More recently, there was the woman who needed to vent about her mother-in-law, and said: “If I have a problem with someone, I tell that person. When she has a problem with someone, she tells everyone else.” (Think she got the irony? I bet not. But look for that ditty to appear in a book of mine someday.)
Finally, kudos to the flight attendant who, upon landing, announced my first book sale over the P.A. system and told everyone to clap!
These people--and countless others--have contributed to my memories, my characterizations, dialogue and storylines, and have taken the tedium out of traveling.
Who is the most interesting stranger you’ve met while traveling?
Top Ten Uses for An Unworn Prom Dress, March, 2007
How to Hook a Hottie, Spring 2008