"I didn't order PINK MOUSSE," shrieked a woman. A colleague of mine stopped and enquired what was wrong.
"I'm not eating it. I didn't order it and I'm not eating it... you take it away right now and bring me what I ordered..." she demanded. Her face took on a shade that complimented the mousses pinkness as she poked at her free Unhappy Meal.
I wondered if she considered just pushing it to one side and not eating it, opposed to blowing a gasket over a bowl of pink mousse. I had visions of decorating the bowl with antlers and eyes and a cute little elkish mouth - perhaps make the mousse more endearing but I value my job so instead, I watched her react, and began to wonder what makes us flip out when we don't get what it is we think we deserve.
Why do we incite a mini riot and throw tantrums that would make a two year old proud? I wondered in her case, what lay beneath the pink mousse? What past experience drove her thoughts to make her behave this way. Was it about control, or having her desires ignored? Was it the colour pink? Did that remind her of some horrible childhood incident that dredged up unexplained angst at the mere sight of pinkness? Or was it all over nor getting her own way? She clearly had an agenda, and pink mousse was not on it.
This got me thinking about personal agendas. Everybody has one - that fragile basket of eggs we carry around each day; each egg a delicate thought, a seed of potential being that we have conjured from the marketplace of our mind. I wonder what drives the thoughts we fill our heads with from moment to moment. My day to day thoughts roll around in my basket, knocking together trying to get out of each other's way, each vying for pole position as my ego swaps and sorts and deems which thought is more important. And the more thoughts I entertain, the less present I am to the moment and the more likely I am to end up with a head full of scrambled egg. If I can't be present in the moment, can I create characters that are present in their story?
I watched the pink mousse scenario pan out into a semi happy ending but the experience had me thinking about the stories I create, and how I could use this experience as a way to delve deeper into the lives of my characters. I started asking myself what is driving the thoughts of my main character, Max? What are his past experiences? What could make him flip out like the woman had over a bowl of pink mousse? I may never know the reasons behind the woman's aversion to rose coloured wobbling desserts but I can see how important it is to be able to recognise what pushes my character's buttons. To not know him at such a deep level may lead him to become a flat and flawless being. No flaws=no cause. No Cause = no claws to fight for what is important to him - even if it is just a free unhappy meal.