“I am always criticised for my unrealistic characters,” said a writer nonchalantly. We were chatting in a cafe. “People say they’re not interesting.” I moved my eyes and saw seven other people, making coffee, drinking coffee, reading, working at tablets and laptops.
“Do you ever look at strangers, and wonder about them?” I asked.
“No. I’m more interested in ideas.”
I hadn’t noticed that. I’d noticed something else, though. “I climbed Everest last Tuesday,” I said.
“I did a lot of climbing in Wales when I was young,” he said.
“I climbed Everest solo without oxygen,” I said.
“I climbed with a top team, and three of them had climbed Everest multiple times,” he said.
“I climbed Everest solo last Tuesday wearing nothing but a tutu,” I said.
“I sometimes think about climbing Everest, but my arthritis is a problem,” he said.
“Oh, that’s enough about me!” I said. “Let’s talk about you as a writer who is unable to create realistic characters. Do you ever eavesdrop?”
“No,” he said.
“Well, start,” I said. “Do you ever listen to what other people are saying?”
“I’m more interested in ideas,” he said.