So tonight I went to a “Story Slam” in Orono for part of my narrative class. Basically this event consisted of paying 5 bucks to either put your name into a drawing to tell a story, or sitting and listening whilst drinking as much coffee as you want. The theme was “stupid cupid” (the theme was optional, I later found out but most people stuck to it, at least loosely) and, although I have stories which I find incredibly relevant to my own life on that subject, I couldn’t think of one which would be particularly riveting for someone else. So anyway, I just listened, drank coffee, and made small talk with my professor and some people in my class. I should also say that my expectations for this event were not great, but it ended up being very successful. And if there was one thing I anticipated, it would gaining insight, even the smallest grain, into how love worked out for some other people.
Well, I’ll start by saying that I wrote down a summary of all 12 stories. And they were all pretty interesting: divorcees, new love, old love, successes, failures, a MySpace relationship culminating in marriage — just about everything you could think of — so I have a good repertoire of stories which pertain to certain types of relationship situations if I ever need their affirmation, or advice for myself or someone else. Although each story had its own useful bits, there were two old guys which were particularly salient for me.
One of the older guys told about how he was stuck in a traffic jam in California in the 1970s, the car ahead of him was being driven by a beautiful woman, he drove up next to her when the traffic started moving again, they flirted a bit and he told her he wanted to stop somewhere so that the two of them could get to know each other. Well, he got off somewhere and she didn’t — so he got back on the road. At the next stoplight, he was right behind her and he got out of his car to try to get her to change her mind. With cars beeping in the background, he got her to change her mind. The story ended with him saying that they ended up going out and after 3 years, they got married (they’ve been “going steady ever since”). This story, for me, was great. At the end of the night they take a vote for the best story and the one with the most votes wins a small prize — I voted for this one.
The next story which was quite memorable for me was also told by and old guy reminiscing about love. Except this one was quite different. This man talked about a girl he knew in high school. She was a junior and he was a senior. She had a boyfriend and he was single — and had quite a large crush on her. He knew this girl because they were both hall monitors; she was the chief hall monitor and she would walk by his post every day and make sure he was doing his job. He said that he would always imagine some sort of embrace or romantic exchange between the two of them even though he knew the result would be him acting awkwardly. Well, time went by and soon it was summer. The girl and her boyfriend broke up after being together since middle school. The storyteller recounts how he finally gets up his courage to ask this girl out on a date. He recounted how her perfume was intoxicating and how magical the whole thing was; he reveled in his memory of holding her hand and kissing her on that night. That summer ended with him going off to college with the understanding that he would come home and continue dating this girl. However, when he got back, she was with her old boyfriend again. The story ends by his saying that it had been 40 years since he and that girl had been together, but the synapses she had connected in his brain — the lights she had turned on in his soul, heart, and mind — they never went out. A year ago he met a woman and he said that if it hadn’t been for that relationship when he was a teenager, he wouldn’t have known that it was true love.
So, those were the two stories I liked. The last one ended up winning the prize and now that I think about it, that story may have been the most valuable or realistic or whatever, but it being so close to Valentine’s Day and all, I’d like to think that something more akin to the first story will be the one that I tell someday.