Saturday, September 12, 2009

Everyone has a story

My husband is a wonderful communicator because he is genuinely interested in everyone's story - sometimes with the exception of mine - but to give him a break he has had not only had to live my story alongside me for the past twenty years, but for the same excruciating amount of time he has listened to me complain about it!  

But I digress - his secret is to get people talking about themselves, and importantly his motivation is genuine, so he listens with almost single-minded attentiveness.  This essential skill is part of what makes him a great physio and a great partner.  Sure he can come home and tell me about X's displaced medialus something or rather, but he can also tell me that X is a Muslim Indian who loved his wife from the moment they met at university, and whose second passion is fishing, and that he has an aluminium tinny with a 40hp motor that he takes out to the bay and a myriad of other interesting personal details.  Sure enough, the next time X has an appointment, X brings him in a gift of a small fishing lure that is guaranteed to catch a metre long flathead; Y brings in some Christmas cookies, Q brings in a bottle of red that they had discussed.  Think back in your life - you only do things like that for people that you genuinely feel a connection with.

Me, I am lacking in this department.  I flounder about - my mind ticks over everything so fast that I don't compartmentalise things effectively - so while I am listening to a seminar or someone talk, I am also mentally working out my shopping list, my things to do list, wondering if I have something stuck between my teeth, thinking about the consequences the world could be facing if Bush was legally allowed to run for re-election for a third term, reminding myself how to ask for two beers in Mandarin, trying to work out how I can afford a house cleaner, and battling with the eternal question of whether if I am capable of writing this stupid PhD.  You get the point.  It's hard to search for questions and try to engage others when you are not a genuine listener.

So I have decided to fix this because it's an area for self-improvement that I can work on, unlike my singing, which as you have seen, is an absolute train wreck and beyond hope of redemption.  I am going to challenge myself to tell 100 people's stories on this blog - I want to say in 100 days, but I think that circumstances might conspire against this - so I'll make it just a one part challenge to tell 100 stories of everyday people that I meet during my everyday existence - people who think, like me, that their stories are mundane, uninteresting, boring.  What can their lives tell us?  What lessons can we learn from others?  How similar are we to each other, or how different?  Who will I find...???

Let's see how this goes. 

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