Wednesday, November 20, 2013

What's The Story?

Obviously, I love a good story.  I can laugh until I cry at stories I've heard a hundred times, like the one my friend tells of the coworker who farted in his cubicle and how the office busy body came by, got a whiff of the offense and said, "Seems we have a sewer gas problem here.  I'll call maintenance and get them up here right away to take care of this."  She imitates the way this woman talks and I die every time she tells it.

Or the woman I followed into Nordstrom's last week.  She looked to be in her 80s with silver hair, a black cape and the most awesome flats.  She was so flipping stylish that I imagined at one time in her life she must have been a designer and could picture the pattern pieces scattered in her sewing room.

Funny, happy, sad, doesn't matter.  I am the moth to the story flame.

Sometimes I'll come across a situation where I start writing the story in my head.  The couple at the table next to us at a nearby restaurant who are barely speaking?  Are they on the verge of splitting up?  Maybe he has a girlfriend?  Is she crazy and he's had enough?  I never make it as simple as "maybe they're just tired and hungry and don't feel like talking."  I go for the drama and work up an imaginary narrative of their life while we eat our dinner.

And forget to talk to my husband because I'm busy making up a story.

I have many different routes I can take home from work.  A few months ago I took a different one and came across a house sitting on the corner in a very nice neighborhood.  It has seen better days.  It is abandoned with crumbling brick, broken windows and ivy engulfing the side of the house.

I have pulled over a couple of times to get a better look.  One day I got out of the car and took a few pictures.  In its heyday I think it was grand, maybe with flower boxes and evergreens.  I wonder if they decorated the outside with Christmas lights.  Was it full of kids and their friends running about?  Is that a pool in the back?  Whatever it used to be doesn't much matter, now it is the neighborhood eyesore.  Nearly every tree on the property (front, side and back) has been marked with an orange X and whacked down.  All that remains are scattered four foot carcasses defiantly sticking up as a painful reminder of what used to grow there.

Why in the world didn't they cut the whole tree down?

For the life of me I cannot come up with the story of this house, but every day I am fascinated by it and every day it begs to be brought back to life.

Maybe I'm the girl it's talking to.

Five days after I published this I drove past my house on the way home from work.  It was completely gone......torn down for what likely will be The Suburban Monstrosity.  After all that time someone is finally going to do something.........but a tear down?  I feel like I lost a charming, old friend.


  1. All of the things you mentioned in your story are what makes you a good writer.
    You actually see what is going on around you. And you wonder what might actually be happening.
    I think that is so awesome. As far as the house ....I am the same way. Since Tom and I moved from our Dream Home 13 years ago it has been difficult to say the least in letting go of things that made us happy. Things that made our House a " Home " that we loved so very much. Renting is definitely not the same thing and every time I see a house that looks like it needs some TLC , I dream about the potential it might have. But since we are not in a position to change our Renting status I just wistfully look at different properties and dream. Or I will go on Pinterest and imagine that I could have some of the lovely things I post. At any rate I admire your creativity and your thought process which gives the rest of us something to read - enjoy and think about.

  2. Looks like it has "Good Bones" and I have the same feeling all the time. I fantasized about rehabbing houses and renting or flipping in my semi-retirement but don't have the cojones to risk the investment. I pass many a house one of which was near by and watched as someone else snapped it up and now is rehabbing it. The one I saw was a foreclosure as many of the homes like this due to the housing crash/ loan debacle.

  3. I wonder about these stories too...