Normally I try to avoid basing characters on people very close to me, since that could get me into all kinds of personal trouble, but I do love turning random everyday interactions into fiction. Yesterday I had a run-in with a fit-looking, tall octogenarian with hearing aids, an Irish tweed cap, and a big pair of white sneakers he was probably only wearing because he had to. He was looking for the massage therapist down the hall from my office and I offered to help.
-I'm looking for Jennifer.
-I don't think she's in today.
-Do you work here?
-Right there, around the corner.
(This is mostly true; I mainly work at home, in the basement.)
-What do you do?
-I don't give massages.
-I don't want a massage from you. What do you do?
-I'm a writer.
-Yeah? What do you write?
-Why do you need an office to write books?
This is a question I often ask myself. I gave my standard answer, though I don't really know if it's a truthful answer.
-I have kids at home and they're loud.
-OK. What kind of books do you write? Mysteries?
-No. A little bit of everything. Science, kids novels.
And with that he turned his big white sneakers down the stairs and left.