Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Perfect Timing by Lula Diamond
“Is this a good time to talk?”
It’s a question that thoughtful people ask when they call you on the phone, or pop into your office, or catch you resting your forehead on a stack of papers. Usually they don’t want to talk as much as have you listen. Plenty of people don’t bother to ask but come barging into your business, ready or not. If it really isn’t a good time, I’m not shy about letting folks know—or taking a bathroom break that becomes an escape. I have important things to do, deadlines, meetings, children to pick up or drop off, groceries to buy. In short, I’m busy.
But there is one group that consistently refuses to give me a break. They interrupt at the most inconvenient times and refuse to be silent, put it in an email, or ‘hold that thought’. They have absolutely no boundaries and could care less if I’m in the middle of something else. Many a time, I’ve stepped dripping from the shower to grab an index card and a pen because these voices will not shut up. Or I’m in the middle of a relaxing drive with some good music, and the next thing I know I’m hearing an argument or watching two people go at it like cats in heat. Honestly, have they no shame? I cannot safely operate heavy machinery in the middle of a sex scene. And try getting a good night’s rest with this group. Good luck. Just as you’re ready to drift off, one of them pipes up with a blackmail scheme, a heart attack or a car accident. All drama, all the time. Except when I’m ready to put fingers to my keyboard.
Of course, I’m talking about my story characters, those rascals. They will not be ignored and if you make them wait, they sulk. Silently. So I’m the lady sitting in the grocery store parking lot in the summer heat surrounded by my melting frozen vegetables scribbling on my receipt, or the car that swerves off the road not to use my cell phone but to write a scene on an old McDonald’s bag. It’s a good thing I keep a lot of trash in my car. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to hear from them. They are a gift. They make me hoot with laughter, grind my teeth when I can’t get their story straight, and tear up when I finally understand them. I love those guys. I just wish they had better timing.