Life Is An Interesting Narrative

As I was reading through new blog post on the UMWblogs site, I found this one titled “A Story Everywhere”. Right away the title has my attention and at the first line I am hooked:

“The simple truth of the matter is that people fascinate me.”

The post is a brief story about the author’s interaction with a cashier, named Dawn, at the Giant. I recommend reading it, it is not too long, and it manages to fit a lot into a short post. Here is just an excerpt:

I was thinking about Dawn, my Dawn, my fast cashier, and her life in New Mexico, and ’how did she end up here?’ and ‘why would anybody want 4 loafs of bread at once?’ In that moment I realized for the first time that Dawn had a story. She had hopes, dreams, fears; she became real to me, more real than our autopilot interactions of the past 6 or so months.

The author brings it home at the end with:

My experience today with Dawn served as a simple reminder that everyone has something to say, and perhaps something to teach you. We as artists(or individuals) can never stop learning. It is the single most fundamental and necessary part of our art; we must always find new ideas in people, and learn from them.

I love moments like this and when someone can put it into words well I soak it up in all its extraordinary ordinariness.

So in the spirit of ordinary moments I will briefly share something that happened to me a few months ago that I recalled while reading the previously mentioned post.

It was back in the fall semester when I was in a real deep funk. I went to my car to drive around and maybe stop at the store, but mostly I drove so I could have a private place to feel frustrated and defeated. While I was out I stopped at the Walmart and I silently walked the aisles looking for something I can’t remember. As I was standing in the the school supply aisle a lady approached me. She did not speak English very well, but she asked if I could help her find school supplies for her child. She pointed to the list that she held, indicating what she needed to find. Despite my mood, I willingly obliged to help her find the items. After I would pull the item off the shelf I would point to what it was on the list so she could diligently cross it out. When we had finished and we parted ways I could not help, but wonder about the women I had just helped. How long had she been in the country? What must it be like to struggle to find school supplies for your child because you don’t know the language of your new country? Many thoughts were racing through my head and because of that moment I felt grounded again. I was connected to the world around me, a world that is far more complex then my small little existence.

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1 Response to “Life Is An Interesting Narrative”


  1. 1 Martha February 5, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    Thank you for this. I also saw that blog post, and found it very moving. You’ve illustrated why perfectly. And I needed that today.


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