I know the name of the owner of the cake and coffee shop (Paul) where I get my fix every second day. I know the name of the newsagent (Michael) where I still like to pick up a paper version of the newspaper most days. And I know the name of the assistant at the fruit and veggie shop (Bronwyn) where I get fresh and beautiful bananas and apples and avocados and whatever else takes my fancy. Yesterday, I found out the name of the tall, young lad who makes my coffee when Paul's got the day off. He's called Robin. And I discovered the name of Bronwyn's boss, the owner of the fruit and veggie shop. He's called Rob. Or Robert. (Bronwyn said it depends on whether you are mad with him or not.)
Bronwyn is a sweetie. She has cropped dark hair and dark eyes, with a pale skin, and sometimes she has a sore on her mouth, like a cold sore (is that what they're called?). She's a little overweight, cuddly-like, and she's a straight-talking woman. You can banter with her. I've got this vague idea she's in a relationship with another woman - I don't know where I get those vibes from. I know they have a couple of kids between them.
Robert is small and lithe, with thinning hair, and he moves quickly. Unpacking this, unpacking that. He's probably in his forties. He has an open, happy face. When he says to me, "How are you?" I can tell he genuinely wants to know.
Michael, the newsagent, is Asian. I have no idea from which part of Asia he comes; I'm not good at picking this. He's probably in his fifties, but I find it hard to tell how old Asian people are. His English is good, and he's polite and he always smiles at me. The other day when I was 10c short for the paper he said I could bring it the next time. He probably has had an interesting life. He could have been a refugee, I think.
Paul is gay. He wears a T-shirt that says something along the lines of, "Our buns are delicious", and he does this little wriggle with his bottom, and this little teapot thing with his fingers when he's acting the giddy goat. He calls me Miss Kathy...
Should I go on? I think you get the idea. As writers, we need to make observations about people, about characters. We need to practise capturing the essence of a person in a couple of lines.
What do you think? How have I done?