I was reading something super compelling about story telling and narrative and it’s efficacy in helping us remember things. But I forget all of the details. Seriously. I’ll dig through my history and see if I can find the link later.
6 Days into our 8 day trip to Michigan I reflect on how well it is going. And still…I have always felt muzzled around Steve’s family. Call it cultural differences or basic discomfort, but for 20 hours or 8 days I just sort of shrink into myself and wait until I can become the unfiltered opinionated person I identify as me.
Thinking about it from the third row of the messiest van on the planet I realize it may be something else entirely. Maybe my unnatural quiet is a selfish one. This just isn’t my story. Each visit changes that a bit. 10 years brings some shared history. Repeated stories become familiar refrains. The presence of Alex turns me into a bit of an insider for a wile.
Places remembered, records set, damage done, a shared past. That is what trips home are about. This time I am part of them.
In college (forgive me if I have mentioned this before) my roommate and I went on a road trip with two guys. I don’t even remember who the guys were…just that they were guys. The point of this possibly redundant recollection is that these two drove for 2.5 hours without using a pronoun. They talked the whole time of facts and stats. They debated without using I statements, instead citing experts and great thinkers. The solar system, musical instrument construction, car engines, the reproductive life of fruit flies. Renaissance men, without people populating their pondering.
Steph and I were amazed. Because of sentences like that one. Steph . and I. had a feeling of amazement.
I felt like a super selfish alien. Try as I might to chat for 15 minutes about a topic it all really came back to
Me. Or the people I knew. Their stories or mine.
Does this make my life small?
In the past 24 hours I have thought about the death penalty, the real estate market in Florida, family dynamics, the romance and misery of aging, cultural differences between the uk and the us, marketing publications, patenting philosophy, entrepreneurship, mid century style, and the meaning of art in the modern era. Pretty well rounded right?
How did I get there? Through you.
My college friend wrote an op-Ed about the death penalty. I’m thinking about buying this house. I’ve spent the week with my mother in law, my mom’s favorite topic, our British soccer coach is back, Vicki is publishing her book, I’ve spent the past week with my kids including Leo complaining that I am the only Mom in the world that doesn’t pack lunches. My business, the fab founders holiday house, a letter written by a friend. What do those things have in common? They all circle around one person. Singular.
Hold it: must interrupt to share inappropriate joke from my
7 year old: what fits through a key hole other than a key? A: a penis. See mama laughed.
A friend leaves every gathering with a “care about you.” Or more aptly several. He walks around with a hand on your shoulder: “care about you.” “care about you.” I find it arresting, More than a “thanks for having me” Care about you.
Me too. I care about you. I care about your story and your interests. (To a point.) You bring broadness into my life. I think about the death penalty. The film industry in Vermont. Building the biggest lego city ever. You make my life bigger. Which is almost always better.
Care about you.