Writing 101: A Character-Building Experience
Today, you’ll write about the most interesting person you’ve met in 2014. In your twist, develop and shape your portrait further in a character study.
Don’t Be A Stranger
Interesting, what makes a person interesting? Hard to say, certainly the owner of Evans & Son Jewelry store, wedged between the movie theater, Cimematique, and the used book store, Abraxas, on South Beach Street, was not, at first interesting.
There was nothing special about him, a man my age, who later mentioned he was sixty-two, slightly younger than I was, he appeared ordinary. Al, he called himself Al, leaving me to wondered if it was Alan, Allen, or Albert.
The family business specialized in appraisals, and they were gemologists. We brought in a one of a kind piece, a gold elephant head studded with gems to be evaluated or decide what to do with an ugly piece of jewelry.
Al said the jade it was mounted on was of little value, it had imperfections. He rolled around on a stool that sat him waist-high behind the counter giving him easy access to an i-pad and cell phone.
Occasionally he would hike the shoulder of the cargo shirt he wore, the way Fred Couples does before a golf swing, but Al was not swinging he was talking, nonstop, incessantly. He was a pilot trained at Embry Riddle and brought the business to Daytona from Baltimore Maryland.
Now he was bald, and referenced selling his personal gold chains for scrap, after they lay idle on display after a life style change.
It may have been that single phrase, “life style change” that led to my speculation he was interesting. I imagined him melting down his youth, keeping only the tiger’s eye ring that today fit his pinky finger. His hands were small and when he stood to introduce himself, a surprise that he was tall, over six feet.
“I’m Al,” he said and shook my husband’s hand than took a small step to his left to position himself directly in front of me to repeat, “Al.” We shook hands.
His behavior was not interesting or unusual, but somehow conveyed he was interested. A story-teller, he lead the conversation carefully, weaving his life experience among our few questions. He spoke of being in Italy and how the Europeans loved Daytona Beach and when Daytona was touted one of the ten best places to retire on an income of thirty thousand dollars, people were thrilled. He was not, and raised a good point; they had no money to spend.
After we made our transaction; he stood again to shake both our hands, and said, “Don’t be strangers now.”
What makes a person interesting, hard to say?
. . . Seriously just saying