Jennifer Pickrell

YA Writer

People Watching

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August 24, 2002

Tonight was so great.        

It began when I went over to Meg’s apt and we went to the Diner [where else?!]. We sat at our usual booth and, as I stated while there, “If the ‘Kustard’ stand wasn’t in the parking lot, what in the hell would I stare at?” A man from MD pulled up to get a cone. As he walked the 10 ft back to his car, the wind suddenly picked up and it began to pour down rain. With his creamy scoop of ice cream slowly drooping, he made a futile attempt at his car door. IT WAS LOCKED!!! He fumbled for his keys, finally succeeding.

No, that’s not even close to the end of it.

The rain let up slightly. He reemerged from the car with his cone PLUS a canteen of water. He nibbled away at his tasty treat, all the while looking around wide-eyed and happy. Meg compared his demeanor to a cat let outside who sees a butterfly.

After the cone was finished, he threw away his napkin and then proceeded to wash his hands with water poured out from the canteen.


I am so obsessed with the people at the Koo-stard stand. They’re fugging amazing. People watching…why isn’t this our career?

^As I read this from an outside perspective, I’m all, “Yeah…that’s dumb,” but I still remember this man, he was like a moment of Zen.

In creative writing class at community college there was a guy in his 60’s (although I was 18, so everyone looked 100 to me), and I still remember this line he wrote for our people-watching assignment. 

(I don’t remember the woman’s name so I’ll make it up – she was his waitress):

“Cheery Rita has no teeth.”

I’m also pretty sure she was wearing gingham.  –> I think this is the first time in my life I have ever used the word gingham.

I remember Rita’s description almost 15 years later, just goes to show what a good job he did describing her.

I’m declaring that right now (in a roundabout, last-minute kind of way) that this blog post is about observation and how freakin’ important it is for a writer to notice things, people things, otherwise their characters are nothing more than a bunch of JCPenney mannequins wearing tacky sweater!

Yeah, I went to the mall for my people-watching assignment, all I remember are tacky sweaters and angry looking seniors power-walking.


Author: Jennifer Pickrell

I write YA contemporary filled w/ romance, angst & family drama. Things I like: cats, snacks, baseball, green tea, taking pictures of trees & movies so bad, they’re good.

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