Over Memorial Day weekend, we ordered some subs from a local pizza shop. It’s nothing fancy just a pick-up spot with a small dining area (think two booths and a set of chairs) off to one side. There’s a couple of registers and a large counter with display, but with it being a holiday weekend there’s only one girl working.
When I walk in there’s a jabbering lady and her young son at the front of the line paying for their food. She’s talking without breathing while waving the money in front of the cashier not noticing a line forming behind her. A young guy in his mid twenties stood in front of me and as we waited, a couple of people lined up behind me. The guy in front of me was fixated onto his phone and apparently felt it a good time to make a call. So he’s next in line and calling a friend because… that makes sense.
Finally, she gave the money to the cashier and moved over to the other register. I’m not sure why she remained there, but whatever. The cashier calls the guy, who’s less than two feet in front of her. He continues to talk on his phone not moving. She calls him again. Still nothing. And she calls him yet again. Guess what? He continues to ignore and stands there having a rather loud conversation with his “brotha”. She turns to me and asks if she can help me. So I step into the guy’s field of vision, right in front of him, point to the lady and ask if he’s going. What does he do? Stares right through me like I’m a ghost. I shrug and step up to the plate. Tell her my name, she grabs the food. All I have to do is sign for it and leave. But before I can sign a commotion erupts behind me.
Guy: “Hey, what you doing? I was here first! Hey, what the hell you think you’re doing? I’m next!!!”
I mean this guy’s screaming, while still on the phone, and drawing all eyes on him.
So what do I do? I turn and say, “Well, she called you three times and I asked you once. Try paying attention next time.”
He mutters sorry as he pushes me out of the way and orders his food. Yup, pushed me out of the way. Even though I was already moving back in line. It took everything I had not to punch him square in the face (for the record the cashier said I should have and she would have helped).
Maybe I should have apologized for not waiting for his entitled ass to finish his all important conversation. Perhaps, all of us in line owe him an apology. After all, the world does revolve around him. Ridiculous. Sometimes I wonder what is happening to people; what the world is coming to. I mean, is it that hard to wait two minutes to order your food before making a call? (And believe me he wasn’t talking about anything important other than some hot chick he met up with the other night). Or even waiting two more minutes while you accept the consequences of your actions for not paying attention? Ugh. Okay, done with my rant.
Moving on… so how do you create a rude character? Well, dear readers, here’s three pointers to pay attention to:
- First off, language. There were little kids in the dining area and I know they hear worse on television, but still. It’s just inappropriate and not a good example. Okay, I’m not here to give a moral lesson. I just want to illustrate that when forming your character language is important and will best show the perception of rudeness. He could have said, “Excuse me ma’am, but I believe I was next.” And I would not have thought him rude at all. But no. When you lace your speech with profanity, demand your position and carry on like a toddler… you give off a different vibe.
- Second, actions. This was a young man in his mid-twenties (or that’s what he looked like anyway) who physically pushed a young woman, who’s about half his size, out of the way. If talking loudly on his cell phone while being next in line and not responding when people are speaking to him isn’t enough to demonstrate how rude they are… I think getting physical when it’s unnecessary is.
- Third, influence. You know what? It’s amazing what kind of effect a rude person can have on someone. I tried not to let it ruin the rest of my day, but I’m not gonna lie, I couldn’t stop thinking of the encounter. When I left the sub shop I was shaking because I was so angry, but once I calmed down I just kept going over everything. Should I have said or done something different? Did I do something wrong? So when you’re creating your characters you can show how other characters react to them or their moods after the encounter. Illustrate their responses to the rude character. Often people mirror others, so one rude person can have a chain effect causing others to become rude too.
If you’d like more tips on characterization check out this article on Daily Writing Tips.
Well, I tried to look at the situation that at least I received an apologize even if I got shoved in the process. And that the young man probably has some real problems in his life, but sometimes I just wish people would stop and breathe. Then when all else fails just make them a character in your book and kill them off. Great therapy and bonus! Doesn’t cost a thing.