Meeting a character face to face

My dipshit kitten has developed a taste for headphone wires.  JUST headphone wires.  She’s not all that interested in food.  Looking it up, she could be longing for cat grass.  Fair enough.  I’ll pop down to the store and snag some fresh grass.

As I drove I did what I often do, I drifted into the novel.  Specifically, I started thinking about my least developed character, code named “Moon”.  He’s patterned a bit after The Stand’s Tom Cullen, not so much because I love Tom Cullen, but because M-O-O-N is a daily phrase, and he insisted on joining the team.  Fair enough.  But why the hell is he there?  Ok, he can see the highway in the sky.  It took me a bloody long time to figure out what the highway in the sky WAS, but he knew all along, and he led the others to it.  Ok, great.  What else?  Hadn’t a clue.

So there I was, pondering this.  I drove to the Petsmart, parked, and damn near banged into this asshole who had planted himself square (and I do mean square, for he was, himself, a perfect square) in the middle of the doorway to make a call.  “Excuse me,” says I tersely, when I realize that he’s little more than a child.  Meh, says I and thinks no more on it.  I procure food and look for grass, only to be thwarted in the attempt.  Normally there’s acres of the stuff.  Would you believe there was a run on cat grass?

Covered in owl shit, I retreat.

When I banged into the square again on the opposite side of the door.  He turned to me and pleasantly said “Hello, how are you?”  The smile was nearly angelic.  He didn’t miss a beat, he didn’t register my response.  He was already out the door, down the parking lot and still on his cell phone.  He was asking his father if he could hang out with Tristen.

The young man wasn’t a young man.  He was perhaps mid 20’s and obviously … oh what the hell is the PC phrase for it these days?  Growing up I would have said “retarded” and not mean it unkindly.  Mentally challenged, let’s say.  His body was softly rounded yet oddly squared, his face likewise a strange combination of perfect circles and squares.  He had come in to visit the animals, forgotten why he was there, turned around and decided to visit his friend.  But not before offering me a cheerful greeting in the parking lot that he forgot the moment it was uttered.

I have my Moon.  Isn’t it astonishing how the world works?


2 thoughts on “Meeting a character face to face

  1. You don’t know if this guy has disabilities, why he went to the pet store, or for what reason he was on they phone except for the snippets you heard, which honestly don’t amount to much. It is totally okay to gather inspiration for characters from real people, but you can’t just assume that the young man “forgot” what he was doing. Making claims like this is offensive not only because you are assuming he “forgot what he was doing”, when you would not have assumed that of anyone in this situation that you did not think had disabilities, but also because you assumed he was going in to ” look at the animals “. The part about the animals is offensive because you did not write about this experience as though you thought he was anywhere near equal to you. Couldn’t he have been getting food, just like you were? Why did you assume he was doing something childlike? Grown people with disabilities (also known as alter-abled) are not children in adult bodies. Grown up people are grown up people, even if some have a different set of skills and abilities than you do.
    I am not meaning to discourage you, but y-o-u, as someone who says she reads the NY Times, who is a grown person, and who claims that positive messages are important, you really dropped the ball on this one.
    P.s. how hard would it have been to Google what the correct terminology is?
    P.p.s. Caden driving a Grand Am as an indulgence car makes no sense. They’re not meant to be anything special, particularly the older ones, no matter what “exotic” red/orange color they are. It should be a trans am- at least, that’s what i think you mean. Another thing to go on your list of stuff to Google/even research for 3 minutes. And try using a year for the model (1979 pontiac firebird in Mayan Red?) as one of the details. You describe her earrings with detail, but her car doesn’t even have a year? Make sure the year you pick had cars released in the color you wanted, or else it will seem like you don’t know anything about cars.
    But, it probably can’t be more glaring than if you have a vague, yearless Grand am as your character’s indulgent mid life crisis car.

    • ROFL! Margaret, I’m updating my blogs and I ran across your reply. 1. Yes, he was most certainly disabled. It’s not an assumption, just a fact. 2. I’m disabled myself and I can say – also as fact – that it’s not a statement regarding his character. It’s just a fact of life. 3. You don’t need to defend him (or me, for that matter). We’re fine. Thanks, though.

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