I tell stories. That should go without saying, but I’m going somewhere with this. There are times when I use stories to ensure that” I win” Person One: “I was out drinking last night so I’m a little hung-over.” Me: “I went out drinking too, but my sister locked me out of MY apartment and I ended up spending the night in my friend’s apartment sleeping on the armchair, and I had to call my mom, who lived 100 miles away, from a phone booth at the park, to wake up my sister and let me in my apartment.” Story told, I win, and thank you very much.
It's not all about winning. I also want to ensure people that they’re not alone, or other people have been through this before. Only sometimes I have as much experience to share as a toad shopping in Bloomingdales.
Tonight it was babies; a woman at work has a relative having a baby, and I didn’t ask the basic questions: How is the baby related to you? Are you excited? How many fingers and toes will it have? She told me what the baby’s mom is going through and I told her one of the few baby stories I had. Which made me feel great about bringing this story to life, of these friends I’ve lost touch with, but it had no real relevance to the situation. I walked away saying “It’s time to go home Frosty Duncan…Just shut up for today.”
I also guessed my friend’s birthday wrong by three years and proceeded to tell her a birthday story of my own, trying to take the awkwardness away. Again, it was another story about me and I felt embarrassed after I told it.
Maybe this is a little glimpse into realizing the whole world doesn’t revolve around me. (Shhh don’t say that too loud, I might hear.) I’m single, live by myself, work at a work station that is almost a cubicle (thankfully it’s not) and spend a lot of time writing to myself. So %90 of the time, my world does revolve around me, but today, I realized other people can have their stories. (I’m also sure I’ve realized it before and will realize it again.) I shouldn't be in a competition to beat them or search my brain to find my own story to relate; the next person can have their story for themselves, it’ll be their story.
Well, unless I had to share the armchair with a frog in a spaghetti strap dress.