Your Next Protagonist is Down the Street (Day 24)

Today I realized firsthand that the greatest thing you can do as a writer is simply to keep your eyes open and absorb the variety of people in this world, for life really is stranger than fiction, and the protagonist in your next story is right around the corner. Let me explain…

I have been living in the city of —— for four months now. In my native city I had become so accustomed to some sights that however shocking they might have been, I lost the capacity to take notice of them; here, instead, in this new city of mine, nothing goes unnoticed.

The one thing that astonished me about this city is how so very nice the people are.

I usually start off my day with an odyssey that consists of trying to make it unscathed past the busy intersection at 14th & 17th. The people who hang around there are very nice. Just this morning, a man looked straight into my eyes (and who says people in big cities avoid eye contact?) and let out a great smile. He held out his cusped hand, and somehow knowing that I was myopic, held it very close to my face so that I could better see the precious artifacts in his hand. That was nice of him. I saw multi-coloured little treasures, wrinkled like raisons, but only slightly larger. “Would you like some gum?” he kindly offered. It was already pre-chewed, too, so that I needn’t hurt my jaw bone unnecessarily. It was so kind; unfortunately, before I could respond, he had already turned to the woman behind me and made her the same offer. I suppose I was not quick enough.

Less than a minute later, two nice lads asked me if I had a moment to talk. They said they had a wonderful book to give me and that not only could I have one, but that they would also love to discuss with me how their prophet found and translated it from sacred golden plates written in a language that never actually existed. They were so kind, but I had to be going.

Just in case I had any second thoughts and regretted my decision not to accept one of the copies of their book, I was stopped by two more young men just down the road. Sadly, I still could not stop to chat with them, for I am a very busy person.

You know how we tend to change our minds so quickly in this day and age? Well, just a block away I was approached by yet a third pair, this time girls, who began asking if they could teach me about the very important book they held in their hand. And even though by this time I was no longer being very nice myself, they were very nice and still tried to give me one of their nice books.

There was so much kindness in just five minutes. But the nicest thing of all about this city is just how much material a writer can get just by walking down the street.