He told this story. I'll never forget it. It wasn't a cruel story, or a weird story, or a depressing story or inadvertently egotistical or bigoted. It was a boring story. A really boring story. Certainly not the most boring story I have ever heard but probably the most boring story I will always remember.
A really really pointless tale of his bike or car or a heater or something. Something broken. Who knows. With something that boring: who cares?
And yes, we all say boring things. Dull things. I'm sure half of what I say would bore most people witless.
Imagine the pressure to always say fascinating things. It would kill you.
Yet, I think part of the reason we have the friends we have is because they happen to find our mostly uninteresting lives surprisingly amusing, our banal chatter fascinating.
So here I was. Listening. Intently. To this boring story.
And I had faith. We all did, sitting there quietly listening to him hash out the details of his trip to the store, the way the thing broke, how many times the thing broke. Why the thing broke. How he told this to the engineer. How he told the engineer the way the thing broke, how many times the thing broke. Why the thing broke. You see, this is the thing about the way the thing broke. And it went on. And on. And on. And we all sat listening intently. Waiting. For the punch line. The joke. The crushing irony or the frustrating humanity of the story. The silly little denounment that would make a detailed grocery list somehow worth itemizing. We sat wating for the point.
See, yesterday i went to the grocery store. Because sometimes I go to the grocery store. And I buy peaches. And apples. And bananas. I buy organic bananas, unless they are green. If the organic bananas are green I buy the regular bananas. And I try to start in the produce section, because it's right next to the grain section. In the grain section I buy rice. And bread. Both brown. And sometimes quinoa, because quinoa has protein and I think sometimes I'm weak because I don't get enough protein. I read somewhere once, about protein...
And see, right now you are thinking, great merciful crap if a monkey doesn't jump out of the quinoa bin soon I'm going to kill you for telling me this story. Right? There better be group sex in the frozen food isle or a hold up at check out or I better have atleast left my wallet AT HOME if I am going to subject you to my grocery store experience.
So we sat, and sat, and it was becoming clear there was no punch line. no joke. no crushing irony or frustrating humanity. no point. it was a pointless story. a long pointless story.
And I had spent hours and months and years around this man and heard atleast a million of his stories. And I wondered. How? How was he telling this story? How COULD he tell this story? Had he always told these stories? These stories where anyone with eyes and ears and a shred of empathy would have known not to subject people he claimed to like to such agonizing pointlessness. Were there always these moments, so self involved that he would have gone on and on to a completely baffled group that was clearly quickly losing interest and respect? Had I simply missed them in the past? Was I not listening? Was I watching his mouth or something? Or was this new? Did he now, truly and deeply, honestly and clearly, believe these were the kind of stories people told? Was HE interested in his own story?
I don't know. All I know is, I'll never forget that story.