Ken and I met several new people yesterday. We didn't set out to do so, it just happened. First, we were having lunch in a charming little French bistro in Topeka. (I know--you can't imagine such a spot in the middle of Kansas!) We were enjoying the superb food and a glass of wine when we overheard the couple next to us telling the waitress they were on a cross-country trip.
When the waitress left, Ken said he couldn't help overhearing what they'd said, and he wondered how the trip was going. Well, that led to a long conversation with this nice couple from Seattle who were driving to the east coast in a small 2-seater sports car. They didn't go too far each day and made a point of checking Trip Advisor to find out of the way, interesting restaurants like Chez Azus, the place we were at. We talked a bit more and loved seeing their snazzy car as we left the restaurant, vowing to return for more of the excellent food.
Next, I met a lady in shop whom I hadn't seen for many years, and we laughed about having to travel fifty miles from home to see someone from there. We did a bit of catching up while we shopped.
The evening found us at a picnic to say good-bye to the several Czech exchange students at Kansas State University. Ken and I have been an American Host Family to a Czech student (or 2) every year for the past twelve years. They live on campus, but we invite them over for dinner, take them to events now and then, email and just give them a place to get away from studying and campus life. There was a new host family at the picnic. We got to visiting with them and learned we had a great many things in common--the area where we grew up. that my husband and the woman had attended the same college in Indiana, and so many more things.
We drove two of the students home after the picnic and one of them was telling us she was going to fly with her grandmother from Prague to Paris this summer where she would show Grandma that lovely city. That led to a discussion of both girls grandparents and which ones traveled and the ones that would not go thirty miles from home on a bus. One story led to another.
After we dropped the girls off, I marveled at the many people and many stories we'd heard over the course of one day. I've always been a people person, always liked knowing the stories of the people I meet. Look in any crowd and you'll find myriad stories to be told. Listen to the people as they relate their particular story. What a goldmine for writers--a wonderful way to help you create characters and situations in the stories you write. It's all there in front of you and all around you. All you have to do is tune in.