I learned a long time ago that so much of leading an interesting life lies in how you tell the story rather than what you actually do. On my mission, in particular, I remember listening to a companion of mine tell someone about a day that had seemed totally ordinary and unremarkable to me — his account was perfectly accurate, but his manner of telling the tale and his observation of detail/humor/irony in even the most mundane elements made it compelling.
Since then I’ve paid a lot more attention to storytelling, and it’s made my experience — and my retelling — of “ordinary” days all the richer because I’m looking for the story (and sometimes humming the soundtrack). Ocassionally, though, the opposite happens: I’ll actually be doing lots of interesting things but, because I’m too busy or stressed or tired or focused on work or the painful, massive bruise on my rear-end, my storytelling sensors are dulled and everything becomes bland.
That’s where I am right now. I haven’t posted for a while, and my inclination is to say, “Well, that’s because nothing interesting has happened for a while. Just boring regular life.” Only that’s not true — in the past four days, many things have happened that were plenty interesting and ordinarily would provide fodder for good stories. For example:
- On Thursday Amanda arrived from Denver to spend a few weeks with me before heading out to Spain.
- On Friday, we went to the Smithsonian’s “Jazz in the Park” concert in the National Gallery of Art’s sculpture garden, where we met up with a group of my friends from Kennedy Center days to bid farewell to Mark before he goes to Afganistan for a year with USAID.
- Also on Friday, after the concert, we saw the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s new production of The Merry Wives of Windsor, which was not good at all (neither the play itself nor the performance) and left both of us wishing we’d left at intermission.
- On Saturday, after my bike ride, we ate bauernwurst and sauerkraut at the German bakery and went to a garden party at the house of the managing partner of my firm, where we hobnobbed with firm bigwigs (whose notion of “very casual” meant cocktail dresses and sportcoats) and a bunch of new summer associates.
- On Sunday, after church, we went to a dinner party at the apartment of some friends from the ward, some of whom I knew well and liked, others of whom I knew less well but also liked and appreciated the chance to know better.
So there’s plenty of fun stuff going on. The downside is that I’ve spent all of the time in between those activities working on some big projects for work (and focusing on the pain in my rump — pain has a strange way of focusing one’s attention and sobering an otherwise light mood). One of the big work projects is due tomorrow so, assuming I manage to get it done (fingers crossed), things should lighten up later in the week. Stay tuned…