Paterson is quite comfortable in his life of relative same-ness. Each day plays out mostly the same, by his own choice – he wakes up, checks his watch, eats a bowl of cheerios, waits around to find what crazy notion his ENFP wife has this morning (she’s going to be a famous musician, and sell cupcakes at the farmer’s market, and now she only cares about black and white as a color scheme), agrees to make copies of his poems (but never does it), drives the same route in the city bus, eats lunch and writes poetry on his break, comes home, eats dinner with his wife, takes his dog for a walk, and then goes to the bar, where he drinks the same one glass of beer. Only the conversations, people, and discussions change around him. Paterson writes poetry not-in-verse, that is about the common everyday items around him, such as matchbooks. He can stare at an object for a long time, in an attempt to write a poem around it, but he doesn’t really want to share them with anyone else. One day he’s drawn to a little girl who writes poetry similar to his own, and sits with her until her mother and sister return. Paterson is mild-mannered and good-natured, tolerant and approving of his wife, even when she comes up with weird menu items and he comes home to find the house completely repainted. He easily expresses himself through his writing, and is affirming and sweet to everyone he meets. Lauren being happy makes him happy by extension, and her dreams become his dreams, but he has no grand ambitions of his own. He’s content to live his life, deal with small crisis, and be her cheerleader.

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Paterson is highly agreeable and willing to go along with whatever makes his wife happy. He never reacts to anything, and deals with things on an even-keel basis. His wife is going to waste $300 on a guitar, with dreams of being a famous musician one day? That’s fine, honey. Go ahead. She’s going to make and sell cupcakes and open a bakery? That’s great, honey! She wants to see a movie? Which one do you want to see, hon? A man pulls a gun in the bar he goes to on a regular basis and tries to shoot himself? Paterson calmly tackles him the ground, wrestles it out of his hand, and then doesn’t mention it to his wife until the next morning, since it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. He remains nonplussed throughout life, although it does annoy him that the mail box never remains upright! Even when he finds his notebook destroyed by the dog, he doesn’t react to it on a strong level. He just goes in their room and shuts the door.