You’ve probably heard this a million times before, but one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received is to carry a pen and notebook with me everywhere I go.

A couple of weeks ago, I was waiting at the dealership while my car was being serviced. While I sat there reading my book, I happened to notice a fortyish man, dressed in khakis and a polo shirt, sit in the chair adjacent to me. He opened his briefcase and took out a foil-wrapped package I recognized immediately as Pop-Tarts. I thought, okay, I haven’t had one in a while, but I’ve eaten a Pop-Tart on occasion. Next, he got up, walked to the trashcan, and ripped open the package. The pink frosting made me think they were strawberry, my favorite.

At this point, the man flashes me a smile and I’m still thinking everything is normal. He drops the wrapper in the trash and then proceeds to break off all the edges of the tasty pastry before shoving the small middle portion remaining into his mouth. When he’s finished eating the first Pop-Tart, he performs the same ritual on the second. Granted, the center of this yummy breakfast treat is the best part, but I’m thinking I would have probably eaten mine in a totally different way.

What I’m getting at is you never know when your story may need a fortyish man with a Pop-Tart fetish, so out came my notebook and the writing began. In the span of the time it took to get my oil changed, I got myself a small nugget of quirky behavior right there at the car dealership.

The world is a melting pot of research. Life is full of interesting people and scenarios. Use them, they’re yours for the taking.

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