Ever since moving to the city, it has
been my goal to not only experience as many new things as possible, but to also step outside my comfort zone in order to continuously challenge myself. (And I'll be honest, anything I can do in the city for free is an opportunity I jump at.) Therefore, when a friend asked me if I wanted to attend the final presentation for a storytelling class that his roommate was a part of, I unhesitatingly said yes.
I wasn't sure what to expect when I arrived at the studio ten minutes early and there were only a handful of people there, but shortly all of the chairs in the room became occupied by friends, family members, classmates and instructors, and the “”show”” began. Each individual related one personal experience in his/her life. Some were funny, some were more serious, but all were surprisingly not too bad. It was interesting feeling like I kind of knew the story teller after a brief ten minutes. The way they allowed themselves to be vulnerable in front of approximately 30-40 people–more than half of which were most likely strangers to them–by sharing a personal or embarrassing moment, that obviously meant something to them in order to deem it storytelling worthy, felt intimate and inclusive as if they were speaking to me personally.
The stories covered a broad range of topics. One was about a man's struggle to find the line between his work and personal life, and he described an event where he allowed both to collide. Another was about a woman's strained relationship with her father and how it took him nearly dying for her to see how much she actually loves him. Another was a humorous story of a woman's parents embarrassing her at the reading of her first published children's book.
Finally, the story that touched me most was about a man's visit to the nursing home to visit his grandmother. That day the nursing home was holding an ice cream social, and as he looked around the room, he painstakingly saw the frail, lethargic residents with flaccid faces resembling zombies, making him feel quite uncomfortable. But then the ice cream was brought out and music was played, and everyone gained life. He saw the twinkle in their eyes which reminded him of the way a young child gets excited at the offer of a treat. After hearing some of the old ladies commenting about how they loved the music and how much they missed dancing, the man set aside his inhibitions and took turns dancing (or more like swaying gently back-and-forth) with all of the women. At the end of the day he felt so happy that he helped the women have some fun and stirred up the joyful memories of their youth. His final comments also stuck with me–that even though the body continues to grow, one's spirit remains a certain age forever.
I think the reason I enjoyed the storytelling final presentation so much is because, not only was I entertained for a solid hour, but some of the stories also triggered my own thoughts about a certain subject or how I would have handled a certain situation. As I mentioned before, there aren't many free things to do in the city, but it's often the random, unexpected things for which you have no expectations that oftentimes end up being most enjoyable.
Finally, the entire evening made me think about how life would be without TV, movies, video games, the Internet, or constant music blaring in our ears. It was a comforting feeling that despite being perpetually surrounded by stimulating new media, that I can still find enjoyment simply from a human being talking without any props or special effects…which leads to my next thought–If you had the opportunity to tell one story, what experience would you share?\