Occasionally I meet people that I just can’t seem to forget. Maybe they were extremely friendly towards me leaving a lasting impression that stays with me for days or weeks on end. Or maybe they were shamelessly rude, grilling their unbearable mark permanently into my psyche. Sometimes it could just be the way they carried themselves, a certain walk, a particular look, or an uttered phrase that I can’t seem to forget. In all cases though one thing is clear, all of them inadvertently contribute to my stories in one way or another.
This was the case for me recently when I went on a trip over winter break. A salesman, who was very interested in selling me a time-share, became quite irate when I told him my answer was no. It wasn’t that his product was bad or lacking in quality. In fact, his hotel had a five star rating and included a fancy pool with several swim up bars, extravagant rooms with ocean views and golf courses surrounding the property. In the end however, I just didn’t feel I needed his product. I happen to think that a hotel is just the place I put my head down at night to sleep, not a place that I spend my whole time at while on vacation. I would rather spend my time site seeing.
That was not the answer he wanted to hear though. I guess I was supposed to be so blown away by his impressive lounge and his fancy restaurant with a rainforest view to the point where I couldn’t possibly say no. Anyway, by the end of the meeting I was selfish in his eyes. He couldn’t believe that I wouldn’t consider buying a time share at his fancy hotel. I was a bad person who had wasted his time, although I was the one giving him a chance to sell me something while on my vacation. He made several rude comments to me in front of my wife in a last ditch effort to shame me into buying a share in his hotel. In any case, he left sort of a bad taste in my mouth when it was finally time to leave his property.
Although this was not the booming peak of my vacation, I can still safely say that he created a vivid experience for me that afternoon. There are a ton of ideas that can come out of that one incident. His behavior could be the founding blocks of a good villain, or at least a background character, who creates an unbearable obstacle for my protagonist to overcome.
As a writer I am fast learning how to take all these unique events into perspective. They’re actually very helpful to me in the end. But even though Mr. Rude Salesman gave me plenty of fodder for a whole new character, I still think I preferred that sweet college-aged girl who jumped into the ocean with me and my kids just before it was time to swim with the dolphins. Her friendly smile and pleasant demeanor helped offset the unnecessary damage done by Mr. Rude Salesman, so that I can finally say my trip was a booming success in the end.