Stories to Tell

On my drive back from Montreal last night I came across a CBC radio show called Wire Tap. The website describes it this way:

Host Jonathan Goldstein invites you to tune in and eavesdrop as he talks over the phone with some of [Canada’s] best storytellers. Sometimes he catches them on their cell phones making late-night trips to the emergency room, sometimes he finds them at home on a Sunday afternoon, flipping TV stations with Mexican take-out on their lap. Whether funny or emotional, their stories are guaranteed to keep you engaged. Each episode swings back and forth between Goldstein’s monologues and phone chats, and it all plays out to a moody, ambient soundtrack.

Last night his topic was “Man and Beast.” The first one was about a guy who let the relationship of his dreams slip through his fingers because he thought the pheromones he bought were the only thing that attracted this woman to him and when he ran out and the company he bought them from went out of business he never called her back.

The next story, though, was one I found to be somewhat profound at times, making me think about myself. It was a story about a man who drove from Ottawa to Montreal with his girlfriend and a potbellied pig they were taking to an animal sanctuary. (This is not the part I identified with.) Along the way the pig became restless and started raising havoc in the back seat. The girlfriend found it funny, he got pissed off. When they returned home they had a huge fight over how he apparently wasn’t the man the animal-lover girlfriend thought he was and they broke up. He felt so lost afterwards that he would just wander around at night looking for fights to start – learning quickly that street fights with drunken Canadians isn’t the best of ideas.

What spoke to me was his reasoning for doing this. He spoke of how boring his life had become that whenever he talked with anyone he found that he was repeating a lot of the same things over and over. He had run out of stories to tell. So, he would go out and look for trouble so he would feel more occupied, more interesting, more alive. I don’t go out looking for trouble, but sometimes I feel like somewhere behind the joy I derive from travel or hiking or watching movies or whatever, is the thought that maybe it will make me seem more interesting. It’s as though my now annual adventures make me seem more worldly and exciting than I really am. Or the fact that I write in a journal or go commune with nature from time to time makes me just the right balance between a masculine outdoorsman and a sensitive, reflective person. Or that my knowledge of movie trivia might be impressive in some way.

I’m not a spontaneous person. And while I have a good sense of humor and a certain sense of comfort in who I am, I don’t carry around the type of confidence that people are drawn to. So, while I found it fun to drive up to Montreal for an afternoon on a whim, part of it was so I would have a good story to tell.

*****
Well, it’s the end of another calendar year. Tomorrow marks a fresh start, a new beginning for all of us. I’m not making any resolutions but, as is my constant hope, I will do my best to be me and to strive for those things which matter most: love, family, friendship, inner peace, and joy. May we all find what we seek, hold on to what we have, and look forward with hope and anticipation for that which awaits us in the coming year.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Comments:
  • John
    Reply

    Interesting idea for a radio show. It sounds similar to This American Life with Ira Glass.

    January 1, 2006 at 7:37 pm

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