Narrative. This is a device many writers use in their writing, but as well in their lives. Storytellers tend to view almost everything and everyone in terms of the stories they are in, that they are telling through words or actions, or which they might have in them to experience or relate.
I not only collect stories, I use them to relate to other people. As well, when I people-watch or do character sketches, I am always looking for small clues to what a person's story could be -- a self conscious walk from a very attractive but incredibly tall young man suggests to me that he was at one time teased for his height, before his body grew into it, and he remains overly aware of people looking at him, equal parts pleased and uncomfortable.
Places hold stories too, through memories of events experienced or shared. To be in a place that holds a story or a memory, is to experience a duality for a moment, to be both where one is, and to be also in that memory, and it can be uncomfortable on many levels if the memory is bad or (if not bad) painful.
It occurs to me that this could be a useful thing to know while developing a character -- what places hold memories for them, and what do those memories look like? How do they feel? How would a character experience being in a place which holds a memory which was good when it was made, but now causes them pain? How would they go about overwriting that memory, in order to lessen its impact, or reclaim the ability to enjoy a place once loved?
Right now, I only know how I did it: by forcing myself to sit in those places, to experience the duality, to allow the pain to flow but not avoid it, and to overwrite the memory sector in my brain that held the original experience with the new one. Much like in computer memory, the old occupant of the sector doesn't really go away, but rather the new one is layered over it virtually, and becomes the predominant bit of information retreived when that sector is accessed.
Enough new memories and the old becomes a mere ghost of itself.
How would your characters manage this? And what are their stories?
The final snippet: I'm not looking at your cards, I'm looking at your...um....(overheard while playing poker, and yeah, the guy was actually looking at the woman's breasts).