Until I began talking to others about how I come up with my stories, I had no idea that all of my life, I have seen things differently than others. For example, when you go to an airport, what do you see? Business people heading to their next meeting or convention? Families going on vacation? Couples embarking on their honeymoon? Or do you just see people waiting for a plane? Have you ever thought about? Put down your phones and look around…. What DO you see?
I see spies, runaways, kidnappers, even terrorists. What is that man carrying in his attaché? Why is the little girl with the pink bow in her hair crying and attempting to break loose from the man holding her hand? Is all of that kissing and cuddling for real or for show in order to blend in while on assignment following a mobster to Grand Cayman?
Everywhere I go, there is a story. The elderly lady in the wheelchair is the only survivor of her family, alive and well today thanks to a benevolent man who pretended she was his own daughter and saved her from a bus ride to Auschwitz. The man on the corner is waiting for his contact to bump into him “accidentally” and leave an encrypted flash drive in his pocket. The young woman ordering coffee in front of me ended a long-term relationship after catching her fiancé and maid of honor in a compromising position and has just stepped off the train to begin a new life in the city.
Sitting at a stop light yesterday, I observed a red truck in front of me. All lettering and logos had been painted over; there was nothing identifiable about the truck other than the bad paint job. The back was coated with mud and dirt. The license plate was unreadable. Hmm…. I began to think. What is that all about? What’s in that truck? Where are they heading? If a crime was committed today, perhaps a robbery or an explosion in a parking garage, would this truck be involved? Could I identify it? My mind raced as I followed it down the road. “Take a picture of that truck,” I told my daughter. Raising her eyebrow, she turned towards me. “You never know when it might come in handy,” I said mysteriously. At this point, she knows better than to ask when this happens. She knows that I am seeing something she doesn’t. Lost in my thoughts I failed to ask her what I ask you now, “So, what do you see?”