Thursday, April 9, 2009

Obsession

Some people I obsess over. 

The checker at Walmart who's missing two teeth, the UPS Driver who delivers packages in shorts no matter the weather, the ambitious student with the amazing smile that never quite reaches his eyes or the girl in my night class that wore a blue blouse so stunning that it actually changed the color of her eyes. I wonder about these people. These are the reasons I don't sleep. 

Now before you apply for a restraining order, let me explain my obsesssion. It's not like I rifle through their mail or follow them home from the movies. I'd like too--if it didn't sound so completely creepy. But I'm not obsessing in a fatal attraction sort of way. It's just that some people fascinate me. They leave me wanting more. I want to know what makes them tick. To peel back the layers and know what's inside. Their joy and heartaches, what topping they prefer on toast, if they have strange hygiene habits or a weird little toe. I want to know absolutely everything about them. 

I want to know why the checker is missing her teeth? What's the backstory? Why doesn't the student really smile? And how does it feel to suddenly blossom?

I used to think there was something dangerously wrong with me for wondering about people, constructing imaginary backstories and relationships and tragedies. But what I was seeking was the story. I'm writing even when I don't realize it. My mind wanders and suddenly, I discover everything about the toothless girl. What beverage she drinks and what she says when arrogant college boys carelessly mock her. Perhaps you'd see missing teeth as a character flaw or a cautionary tale on poor hygiene. But for me it all unfolds and instead of a person at the checkout counter, she becomes something more. She becomes a character. A living, breathing person inside my head whispering, waiting  for her story to be told. 

What characters do you obsess over? 

8 comments:

Shari said...

Don't take this the wrong way, but I obsessed over you when I first met you. If you are wondering why, re-read your blog. Not that you are a wallflower or are missing any teeth, but you are an amazing person and you intrigued me. I'm lucky to now count you as one of my friends.

Mary Campbell said...

You finally wrote something again. Don't take it the wrong way from me either, but I agree with the previous comment from Shari. You are an amazing person and I guess I sort of obsess about you too.
I also obsess about other authors that I love. Like L.M. Montgomery and Jane Austen. I love to read about their lives and find out exactly where their genius came from.

Kristi Stevens said...

You guys are too nice. It's my nervous tick isn't it?

Love my writer friends.

Melinda said...

I do the same thing--obsess over people. I try not to stare, but I find myself doing it all the time. At restaurants when I can tell a couple is fighting, at church when someone shows up with a beard, tongue ring, and tattoos.

There is a guy in Kaysville who looks homeless--greasy, long-haired and trenchcoated--but is really an artist. I find him on street corners sketching or even with a canvas and brush. He rides a bike. I imagine him as a Bohemian artist. I should go up to him sometime and talk to him.

The worst, though, is when you are watching some person in fascination and a guy catches your eye and he totally thinks you are checking him out. Ugh!

Suzy Toronto Studios said...

OK, so I'm not as deep as you all... I obsess over where to buy a mirror that a lot of people must have that I do not... you know, the kind of mirror that you can stand in front of while 20 pounds overweight, love-handles bulging over the top of my pants and a tight fitting crop top on and look in the mirror and say , "Dang, I look good today!" Somebody must be out their selling them 'cause I see a lot of people who must be looking in them each day...
...I know, I'm shallow.

Kristi Stevens said...

Yeah, I wonder about that mirror myself. I think people must take these out of storage in the summer because, wow, some people are fearless with their bodies.

Kristi Stevens said...
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Jason Stevens said...
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