Occasionally your favourite columnist is struck by a bout of what's politely known in the trade as writer's block.
It's that rare period in the fabric of time when the various characters who assist in the enrichment of my world appear to say or do absolutely nothing worthy of me bashing out the words I need.
The benefit of a long time working with people from all walks of life has made me realise something is always happening to someone somewhere and in times like this the problem is me, not them.
So a solution is required. And in my case that means going for a long drive.
Early on in my columnist career I'd go for a walk in a bid to find inspiration but I found it limits you in terms of personal interaction.
For example, writing about a fellow dog walker caught short and peeing behind a tree in the forest is not exactly a recipe for a column to give you a giggle over your cornflakes is it?
But go for a drive and it's a different story.
As I found the other day when the dreaded writer's block hit with a vengeance while I was out of town at a friend's house and numerous attempts to get started only served to send previously hidden toast crumbs flying out of the gaps in the keyboard as the frustration mounted.
So I grabbed the car keys and set off for a drive round this unfamiliar city.
Almost instantly I'm stuck at the lights and the guy in the car next to me is picking his nose. And I mean really going for it, basically seeking hidden treasure, completely oblivious to his surroundings.
Now I'm trying not to look, honestly. But it's like an accident. I don't want to be a rubber-necker but human nature being what it is my brain is turning me that way. Please make it stop!
Phew. The traffic is moving and now there's a big dog sitting in the passenger seat of the adjacent car. He's staring at me with one of those imperious big dog looks that says I'm better than you. I can twist and bend and lick my private parts when I want and you can't.
I can handle that. As long as he doesn't start picking his nose.
Now I've turned off the main road and traffic is slowed to a crawl again. Road works. There's a guy moving his hand up and down in that motion that suggests you slow down.
At least I think that's a real hand. It might be some automatic bit of machinery like one of those cat things you see constantly waving in the Chinese takeaway. His gaze is totally focused on the mobile phone he's got in his other hand.
I wonder if he knows he's still waving one hand? I wonder if he's realised the traffic has now completely stopped?
I sit there for two or three minutes and he doesn't alter his action once so I'm guessing not.
Anyway off up the road and there's a lady in a fluorescent tracksuit outfit, I'm sure you know what I mean, and she's doing some sort of power walk. "Good on you," I think, feeling guilty about my own current lack of exercise, as I slowly drive past.
I watch her in the rear vision mirror as I'm stopped again. This time the utterly bored traffic guy appears to be sleeping in the sitting position, perched on a traffic cone. I wince as I realise a) how painful that must be and b) how even more painful it could be if he slips and wakes up suddenly.
By now the tracksuit lady is power walking past me. And she's devouring a chocolate bar. My previous guilt over my lack of exercise evaporates.
We're away again and not far down the road, at a T-intersection comes an interesting procession.
Meandering along the footpath in front of me are a little child on a scooter, a native American Indian in full war paint and feathers on a horse and an older bloke on a mobility scooter.
Naturally I blink. My jaw may have even dropped. I half expected General Custer and the cavalry to come galloping down the road in hot pursuit.
Later back at my mate's house I'm informed the American Indian is well-known in the area and regularly applies his feathers and war paint, fills the horse up and just plods around.
My drive showed me there's certainly plenty of characters around.
I just wish they did something I could write about.