Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Encounter at The Waffle House

    I had to drive into the big city early this morning for some lab tests. The tests required me to be fasting, so I was pretty famished by the time it was over. A Waffle House is on the way home. I like to stop there sometimes when I'm alone and waffle and eggs sounded awesome! The place was packed! Of course, it was almost noon by then, and Austin is right in the middle of SXSW. That tends to bloat local traffic and fill up restaurants. I'm sure the businesses don't complain nearly as much as the commuters!
    I had to sit at the counter, which isn't bad at all if you are alone. You get to watch them cook your food and you can observe the choreography of multiple cooks and servers sharing the same space. After a bit a gentleman sat beside me. 
    After a couple of "pardon me's", shared condiments, and so on we began to talk. I learned that his name was Ron, and he is a chauffeur from San Antonio working the music festival. As we talked we discovered several shared interests. We had ordered the same breakfast, for instance. We liked much of the same foods. When he found out I was a writer we of course got into this discussion:
    Ron said,"Everyone tells me I should write a book."
    "I agree, you should."
    "Well, I don't have a lot of education, I left school when I was sixteen."
    "That doesn't really matter. I'm a big promoter of school education, but honestly that's only that top ten percent of the iceberg, as they say. Life education is that big ninety percent left over."
    "Well, I've done a lot. Bad childhood, varied work, a lot of experiences."
    "There you go. Start writing it down."
    "You're right. I have friends who are highly educated and writers, they've offered to help edit it."
    "Then do it. The absolute main thing is to get the story down on paper, or computer, whatever. Get it all down so it doesn't get lost. After that you can do what you want to tweak it, correct it, whatever it needs. Just get it down."
    I went on to tell him about others I've known, including my mother. I'd encouraged her for years to write her story for the rest of us. She always said she would ... someday. There was always an excuse not to do it. Finally it was too late.  I didn't grow up around her, so I only heard parts of her stories. 
    This is what I told Ron. We all have stories, whether they come out as truth or fiction, memoir or fantasy or all four at the same time. 
    So, here I am writing this. My attempt at taking my own advice.
    I went on to show Ron the Evernote app I use on my phone to take notes and organize them, clip articles from the web and so on. He downloaded it right there and said he'd use it. He has a lot of down time between riders, or waiting for people.
    We didn't share contact info, other than names, so I doubt he'll read this. However, Ron, if you're out there. Good Luck! Tell  your story. You shared enough of it to let me know it's worth telling. 
    Of course, now it's part of my story as well. Perhaps somewhere, somehow, one of my characters will discuss life with a chauffeur in a Waffle House. That's how it goes!
    Write on!

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