Multi-Dimensional Characters

Multi-dimensional characters.

As an avid elevator stalker, I meet a lot of people. Most of them know me by name, which can prove embarrassing because I have a difficult time matching a face to a name. In order to remember these individuals if I pass them along the way, I've developed a few nicknames. Here are a few.

1) Unusual Face Guy.

He looks like Jean Claude Van Damme, banged his forehead against the garage door, wore a band aid for a week. He's stocky and gets all blushy when I say hi.

2) Elliptical Farter.

He doesn't acknowledge me in elevators, or anywhere else. One fine day, I was at the gym doing butterflies. He was on the elliptical. Believing he was safe and not counting on my excellent hearing, he let one rip. The man had obviously scarfed a large amount of burritos. Needless to say, my reps were cut short and he's bore the name ever since.

3) Old Delivery Guy.

I think his name is Seb. Nicest man in the world, has to be 90. He's chipper than I am, and that's saying much. I've found myself wondering what it would be like to meet him in heaven. Don't ask me why.

4) Aunt B.

I ran into her on Halloween. I'm not much for extremes when it comes to dressing in costumes at work, so I dressed normally, except for well-placed little horns on my head. She asked me if I was a demon. I said, "No, I'm just horny." If looks could kill. She acts as if I don't exist. The woman must have sex through a whole in the blanket. Okay, I'm being mean.

In the bright side, I would never hurt any one's feelings, so I say these things in private. If they ever read this blog, they will have no clue that I'm referring to them.

I'm posting this to illustrate the depth of individuals. We are all more than skin deep.

Maybe Unusual Face Guy coaches a softball team because, with his busy schedule, it's the only time he can spend with his daughter. He could be a stripper on the side to earn some extra cash to pay his alimony and get his daughter through college. Or perhaps he has a boyfriend, the result of his breakup with his wife.

Elliptical Farter probably has an excellent sense of humor. He just doesn't use it with me. Maybe he adores his grandchildren and is recovering from a deadly disease. The possibility of not seeing his grandkids again depresses him. Right now he hates the world, but the doctor told him the elliptical and other exercise regiments would help with his recovery.

Old Delivery Guy sits in the backyard drinking beer with his dog and texting an elderly lady he met in Phoenix at a writer's conference. She's planning on moving in with him soon. They'll be married in the fall. She reminds him of his high school sweetheart; I'm just guessing. On weekends, he visits retirement homes utilizing his dog for therapy.

Aunt B has a part time job as a prison guard. She has to be tough as nails. Any attempt at sexual innuendos has to be stopped short. She knits, makes quilts, and has an obsession for beaded bracelets. At night, she soaks in a tub and pretends to be a mermaid while burning a scented candle reeking of manly musk.

Okay, I'm playing, but I will never forget these people. I've traveled into their minds, their hearts and discovered things that excite them, move them, make them angry. That's how you form a multi-dimensional character.

The bottom line: It's not about how Johnny stepped on a rock. It's about why he did it, what he felt when he was doing it, did he have an alternate motive. Was the rock too small for him to use it to crack someone's head open. I can go on and on, but rocks are boring.

See ya tomorrow.


  1. Hilarious! I have a few of those in my life and my favorite is Crazy Homeless Cart Guy who tries to take the number 65 bus every day on the corner outside of my office and yells threats, racial epithets and expletives at passersby as he waits. Usually the first 3 number 65 buses go right past and refuse to pick him up--I think him yelling "I'm going to kill you, motherf***er" has something to do with it. Eventually one of them carries him off and at 11 the next day we start all over again. Every time I've gotten close enough to make eye contact or speak to him, he's been nice to me which is out of character for him I think.

  2. Ha! That is too funny. I wouldn't pick him up either. The poor bus drivers. He must have taken a shine to you, or you just rubbed him the right way.


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