This post is being brought to you by excessive amounts of coffee and binge watching of one of my most favorite shows ever; Futurama. One of the things that interests me is how life can be a little like reading a book. Everyday work presents what I like to call mini stories that add up into something bigger. Granted, there is probably less drama than Days of our Lives – thank god. I think you get the point I am trying to make or maybe you don’t. Either way life is sort of episodic in nature that as you might guess does lend itself to having some sort of conflict. The interesting parts of daily life surrounded by the boring hum-drum moments with the odd wet cleanup on 12. The more important thing here though this is something that has been on my mind a lot this week.
Every now and then working in the retail/grocery business things happen that are totally out of your control. Lately I have found that to be far too true. That’s the nature of a business that is people centric it can end up being somewhat unpredictable. Face it people a crazy if you don’t believe me just look around you next time you go shopping at your local grocery store. This week alone I have seen people crash their carts into end-cap displays while texting, leave ice cream in the canned goods, sold cookies to morbidly obese people, and got called a racist. I could go on, but that’s beside the point. They made for good stories around the dinner table with a few embellishments of course to make them more interesting than they actually were.
During this week I thought about viewing my work day through the creative lens of fiction. Thinking about the shoppers as if they were characters in a book and how it would play out. I have to admit most of the ideas that resulted were down right boring. However, imagining the old grumpy guy with the rather ratty taupe walking out side on one of the cold windy mornings this week having to chase his hair across the parking lot was a little amusing. Every now and them you don’t have to imagine much to see where there is a true story in the making I did mention that people tend to be on their phones while they are shopping. Most of them for legit reasons even if it is super annoying when they are glued to them while they are supposed to be paying for their stuff. Sometimes out of the corner of your eye you see cans of beans flying. A few choice words being said not from of the mess, but because the shopper dropped their phone and sent the wrong text. One of the more interesting side notes that left nothing to the imagination whatsoever was the drunk guy that came in wanting to buy more beer but couldn’t find where it was. Needless to say he only found the exit when we wouldn’t sell him any while he cussed out our manager. Or the guy that comes in every week to get $200 worth of grapes to feed a little old lady’s pet deer. Now that really makes you wonder what the hell is going on when a pet eats better than its owner.
Each of these minor instances on their own aren’t something we generally pay a whole lot of attention too. I would suggest that is often true even when we read a book in our down time. We are looking for the big events and the climax of the story to be somewhat shocking or just plain epic. Life isn’t always like that and more often than not we think about the more boring aspects of it rather than the small ten second ones that do matter. Much like the shopper who came in expecting for a quick easy experience that ended up as a total disaster after dropping a gallon glass jar of dill pickles got far more than he bargained for. He had an experience that changed a normal day of shopping to one that now had a story attached to it. One that could be exaggerated and played off as something funny after the fact. In effect such a moment becomes an apex. Face it we think about the events that occur around us as stories to be told to others should they make the mistake of asking.
I submit that we as people need to lighten up and look for the humor, the small instances, and minor personal stories as something that are far more than just random occurrences. They are a sum total of experiences that we can turn into a story that can eventually mean more later on. I have begun to look at each day as a serial episodic story and it has made for some interesting moments that can be used to reach out to others in a practical way. After all what’s the use of a story if you can’t tell it to someone else! I challenge you, my reader, to take a moment and at least think about what might be you mini apex story of the day. Good or bad – sad or funny it is worth telling. People are crazy, but also willing (mostly) to give you that chance to tell it. Personally, this has made a big difference.