Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Punctuality and Eccentric Millionaires

Punctuality is important to me. Extremely so. I cannot stand being late because when others are late, it bothers me... a lot. Is there any better way to get across the point that your time is more valuable than the time of the person you are meeting than by showing up late? I don't think so.

Okay, great, but what does this have to do with writing? My local writers' group has moved the meeting time from 6 PM to 5 PM. My husband is rarely home by 5, and I can't take the kids to our meeting. So I have been missing it. And I do mean missing it. It has been this gaping hole in my life. Okay, maybe that's a little dramatic, but I have been meaning to get back to it.

So I went last week, and I arrived an hour late. I missed the entire first half of the meeting. When I arrived, the group was doing a writing exercise together. They had gone around the room and each contributed a piece of information about a character and then wrote stories about said character. Because I was late, I was not part of the contributions, and I had only 15 minutes to write my story.

The story had to be about an eccentric millionaire who lived in an old apartment basement making duct tape wallets and wearing sunglasses all of the time (even at night and inside). Oh, and this millionaire looked like an old grandmother and made rock hard cookies. Being the sexist that I am, I assumed the millionaire was a man. Yes, I'm cringing. I can't believe I did that!  Here is my vignette.

"It's not my fault, you know. I mean, people are always blaming me for burning the cookies and breaking their teeth. I follow the recipe to a T. I even dress up like the woman on the cookbook: hair in a bun, flowery apron - full body, of course - and wire-rimmed (sun)glasses resting on the tip of my nose. So you see, I've done everything I possibly can.

"The truth is, it's all Bob's fault. Who's Bob? Why he owns my apartment, or at least, he did. But then he died. Now it's mine, but he won't go away. To scare me away, he messes with my appliances: changes the temperature on the oven, causes wave interference in the microwave. He even got my freezer to boil water once.

"That's why I had to switch to duct tape. I used to make the most marvelous woven wallets until he tinkered with my sewing machine and had it swing me! But that part's okay. I have a pretty awesome scar on my hand. It looks like sunglasses, which by the way, you should never be without, ever. The sun's rays can actually burn your corneas just by bouncing off the moon, after all.

"But back to the point, my duct tape wallets are top of the line, and I would love to help you set up a fundraiser for your soccer team with them. Oh, how rude of me. Would you like a cookie?"

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