23 March 2010

Personal Narratives

I happen to know that some of you narrate your life. I know this because I can hear you when you walk past me and say things that could only describe yourself, such as, "She approached David with hesitation. Would this be the moment she had been waiting for, when she had a normal conversation with him and he didn't tell a horrendous joke? As his lips stretched to speak she prayed for a miracle. But no, it was all in vain. The conversation was again typical of David; his words were straight out of a second graders' joke book." When my friend orated all that to me I mentioned casually that I could hear her and knew that I was the David to which she was referring. She seemed a little shocked, and then apologized for being too loud. It was all quite aberrant.
 But then I got to thinking about narrating my own life and the fun it could birth. Whenever you think you are having a boring day imagine James Earl Jones or Morgan Freeman or your grandmother walking a stranger through your actions.
"He opens up his math book, in the mathematics laboratory. He is sitting next to a man, whose name he knows not. To his right is a wall. A white wall. He thinks of the graffiti that could enliven the white wall. 'Do you know how to do #5?' asks the anonymous, potentially sketchy, man to his left. David ponders his sketchiness, ponders the graffiti-less wall, ponders the cabbage sandwich he had for lunch and thinks perhaps lettuce would have been a better option, then back to the white man and replies, 'Yes.' But it's too late. There is no one there. As you'd have it, the entire mathematics laboratory is empty, except for the posters of great mathematicians like David Hilbert and George Cantor. David looks at his watch. He realized he had been pondering that lettuce vs. cabbage issue for three hours. That's a long time to debate one sandwich. But then he justifies himself by thinking that the one decision will affect all the future turkey sandwiches he will make in his life, and finds peace knowing that his three hour internal debate today will assure him fine food for years to come. It has been a good day."
That is one way to make your worthless afternoon sound good to anyone. I would recommend it, but also include a warning that when you are narrating your interactions with others, try not to let them hear you.


Carson said...

I've been telling you to switch to lettuce for years

Cat said...

Also good internal narrators: Patrick Stewart or Jim Dale. Seriously.