Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Oh, the people you'll meet...

This past Saturday, I did a signing at a Barnes and Noble a little up the coast from here. There was a guy named Victor (mid-twenties, at most), a B&N employee, who stood near me and by the entrance. He asked each and every entering customer if they'd like to sign up for a B&N membership. And wished each leaving customer a good day. 

Anyway, Victor isn't quite right. He has a leg that doesn't work well, a slurred speech pattern and a perpetual smile that's just a little, well, too perpetual. 

Victor and I got to chatting. He said he'd like to write a book one day. I think a lot of people want to write a book. Probably because everyone has a story, a different take on life. I really like to hear the varied premises.

"About what?" I asked.

Okay, guys, take a breath....He'd write about the drunk driver who ran into his family's car when Victor was five. Victor's dad was paralyzed. Victor's mother was thrown from the car and suffered broken bones only. And Victor became, well, Victor.

I was packing up to leave when Victor tapped me on the shoulder. He'd bought a copy of I So Don't Do Mysteries. A girly middle-grade mystery. In hardback. Victor probably makes a hair above minimum wage.

"I want to read about the places in San Diego I heard you talking about to everyone," Victor said, handing me the book. "And I want you to sign it."


Which I did.

Victor, I'm so glad I got to do a signing next to you. You should write your book. Definitely.

36 comments:

Maggie May said...

Oh my goodness. What a story. I hope he does write it.

Gary Corby said...

I find that heartbreaking. It makes me so sad.

There's a guy who lives down the road from us, a really nice guy, with brain damage. He was perfectly normal until the car accident when he was a teen. Now he spends his days exercising, and having lovely chats with people he meets in the street. But what happens when his parents are gone?

I'm very glad Victor has a job, and well done to B&N for having him there.

kaye said...

great story, I hope he writes his book too!

Mrs. O said...

How wonderful of you to notice Victor and his story. I think we all want to write a book (sans rewrites) because we all want to be seen, heard, and remembered. Thanks to you, Victor had a little moment of all three. Your vignette about Victor makes me smile...just not perpetually.

Sarah Laurence said...

What a story! You told it well. I hope Victor does go on to write his memoir.

As I'm slogging away on my next novel in this awful economy, it amazes me when people with "real jobs" are envious. I talked to a surgeon who dreams of writing fiction. We are lucky to have the time and financial security to follow our dreams.

Bina said...

Oh my Gosh. VICTOR! I am so sorry all that happened to him. He should definitely write a book and if he can't write it, because of, well whatever, couldn't he get you or someone to be a ghost writer? I'm not saying I know even a little bit how that works, but he should absolutely do it, and he should travel around to high schools and talk to kids who have just begun driving, and tell them his story. He is a perfect poster child for why people shouldn't drink and drive. He could do so much good with what happened to him.

debra said...

Sometimes the quietest people have the most to say. We just need to listen.

Patti said...

there are days that take our breath away. this was one of them....

sara said...

Wow, what a touching story. It's amazing how everyone has a little something to give.
Thanks for sharing.

Beth said...

I wish the Victors we encounter in life could write books. (And perhaps with help they could?) Just as we learn a great deal from meeting them, we could learn a great deal more from reading their stories.

Monnik said...

What an amazing moment you shared with Victor. I hope he does write his book.

If everyone came across more Victors in this world (and listened to them like you did) we'd all have a better perspective on life...

Charles Gramlich said...

a powerful story. Sometimes in my striving to escape from the overwhelming world of people, I forget there are incredible tales and incredible characters to be met.

Lady Glamis said...

What a beautiful story! I hope we hear that he writes a book one day. My heart was touched already.

Sarakastic said...

Victor sounds awesome I would totally read his book.

PJ Hoover said...

Barrie, what a great story! I'm glad Victor was able to meet you!

Kristina P. said...

Wow, I'm sure his story will be a heartbreaker. He should definitely do it.

JenKneeBee said...

Victor should totally write a book. He seems like a sweet guy.

Sarah Laurence said...

Barrie, I’m back with a story that will cheer you up. I couldn’t find I So Don’t Do Mysteries in any of the interconnected libraries in Maine so I went to request it from the YA librarian. She had already ordered it for our library last week after reading a great blurb in your publisher’s booklet. She’d invite you in to talk if you were in Maine. My daughter will be the first one to read your book in Maine unless I steal a peek first.

Barrie said...

I'm sure I'll see Victor again. I'll pass along these comments!

And, Sarah Laurence---wow!!!! Thank you for such great news. And if I'm ever in Maine.... :) xo

Keri Mikulski said...

Wow, Barrie, thanks for sharing. :) You should write a story about Victor too.

Loved I SO DON'T DO MYSTERIES. Finished it yesterday. :)

bethyarnall said...

Debra said it best- "Sometimes the quietest people have the most to say. We just need to listen." It's a credit to you that you listened and shared his story. I hope he does write his story.

Twenty Four At Heart said...

That's really touching. It just goes to show we rarely know the story behind the person ... and every person has a story.

gabe said...

my husband has a brain injury from a car accident - and I've met a lot of traumatic brain injury survivors (TBI) - it's probably the main reason my 16 year old still hasn't got her driver's license.
A lot more people who used to die in car accidents now survive - changed forever. And honestly, truly, I don't know if survival always equals living.

gabe said...

p.s. for a while I facilitated (love that word) a writing circle for brain injury survivors. It's heartbreaking. You know how hard writing is for us? Well then, imagine how hard it is for them.

Vodka Mom said...

wow. tell Victor that I would buy his book......

Michelle said...

I love this post... I love it that you took the time to listen to Victor. I hope some day somebody helps him to write his story and get it published. There are many stories out there about drunk drivers destroying families, but there are never enough in my opinion!

Eileen said...

GO VICTOR! What a great story. I sense you're right- he does have a story to tell.

Solvang Sherrie said...

Some of the most amazing stories come from the least expected places. I'm glad he connected with you. Thanks for sharing.

Rebecca Hickman said...

What a great (yet sad) story.

ps. I nominated you for a lemonade stand award for being one of the best female bloggers around.

gabe said...

Why stop at female or blogger? Barrie's just one of the best - period. :)

Barrie said...

Blushing, blushing. Bright red! Thank you, Rebecca. Thank you, Gabe.

Chantal said...

Everyone really does have a story. That was touching. I have an acquaintance who I thought of when you described Victor. He is a waiter at my fav restaurant. I wonder what his story is.

laughingwolf said...

victor, i'm pulling for you, laddie :)

Kelley said...

Maybe there is a part for Victor in the I So Don't Do books. He would be a really interesting character to write about.

Teresa said...

Great post, Barrie. I do hope Victor writes his story and that if he has troubles you can help him with it. I think he would be a great character in a book, too.

Barbara Martin said...

Touching story, Barrie. There are many Victors out there with a story to tell.