A Truly Memorable Character
Since the days of “Leave it to Beaver”, the most overused assignment in fictional and real life creative writing courses has been the “My Most Unforgettable Character” assignment. Some assignments substitute the word “Unforgettable” with either “Memorable” or “Interesting” or some other such descriptive phrase. Personally, this assignment had eluded the educational curriculum of my school days. Perhaps, the educators realized that many, if not all, of their students didn’t personally know anyone who would qualify for the honor of “My Most Unforgettable Character”. The assignment itself is relatively simple to accomplish. The only requirement is the writer must write about the one person he or she finds fascinating. The “Character” could be a celebrity, historical figure, or someone the writer personally knows (or knew). Anything can make an “Unforgettable Character” memorable to the writer from the individual’s chosen profession to some of the things the individual has done.
A former tenant in my apartment complex was an older man. This man would constantly harass the apartment complex’s owner to turn on our air conditioning. The complex itself is rather old with heat and air conditioning on the same system. When one is turned on, the other must be turned off. Harassing the owner was just a game to this older man. One such instance of this man’s harassment came late one evening while my husband and I were at this man’s apartment playing cards. A comment was made that it was a little warm in the apartment. This statement prompted the older man to silently pick up his telephone to call the complex office phone number. At the conclusion of the recorded message, he left a rather colorful request to turn on the air conditioning. Naturally, the older man’s words caused laughter from everyone else in the room which also had been recorded. The next day, the owner comes to our apartment to describe his take on the previous night’s phone call. The owner informs us that he had heard us laughing in the background of the recorded phone call. The owner, then, asks if we had put the older man up to making the phone call. The allegations were vehemently denied.
My “Character” vs The Police
The apartments are designed with both a front door and a back door for each unit. The back doors do not have apartment numbers on them as the back doors do not face any street. Nearly all visitors to the apartment complex mistake the back doors for front doors leading to other separate apartments. The local police officers were no different with their assumptions concerning the complex layout. In response to a phone call to the police emergency number, two police officers arrive at the apartment complex. A normal response time for authorities is less than thirty minutes depending on where the responding officer is located at the time the disturbance is dispatched to his or her unit. Due to the dual door layout of the apartment complex, the responding officers had some difficulty locating the older man’s apartment. My “Character” became irate with the responding officers, demanding to know what took them so long to arrive using his extended vocabulary of unkind adjectives. The officer tried to explain his difficulty in locating the apartment because there were no numbers on any of the doors he had seen. This was true since the officers were walking the back of the complex, seeing only the non-numbered back doors. My “Character” begins to unmercifully berate the young officer with the same colorful metaphors. My “Character” even compared the police officer’s intelligence with that of a pizza delivery driver, claiming the pizza delivery driver never has trouble finding his apartment. The poor officer stood silently allowing my “Character” to continue his rant.
That’s Not All, Folks
Once the owner was showing to grounds to a prospective new tenant when my “Character” spotted them, yelling for the owner to turn on the air conditioning with his familiar language, embarrassing the owner.
Again, my “Character” was leaned against the office door, looking as if he were about to have a heart attack. Concerned, I asked if he was okay. He was, indeed, okay. He just wanted to borrow the community vacuum cleaner. I offered to loan him the use of my vacuum cleaner. Grinning, he rejected my offer because he wanted to make the owner come to the door.
My “Character” had his moments in public as well. An often habit would be a meal at a local pancake restaurant at the conclusion of our card games. This man would go into the establishment with the mindset to either constantly complain about the most minute details of the visit or be the most charming, considerate guest they’d ever had. It was a dead giveaway to which “Character” would show up if he immediately made an unreasonable and impossible request.
Although my “Character” is now deceased, his humorous antics will never be duplicated or forgotten.
© 2013 Tammy L