Thank you everyone who came out and supported our tellers Thursday. We had folks from California and eastern Canada join us. I have to admit that I was very skeptical of bringing FGS to Zoom. I didn’t think we’d be able to connect over such a flat, glitchy, accidentally-mutey thing. But it turns out that we can not only have great shows on Zoom, we get to hear stories from all over the world. 

Tracey kicked off the show with a story about going from being an English major to working on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in the mid-80s. Did she have the cold heart and killer instinct that traders need to succeed in the world of bears and bulls? Of course not. It turns out that if you cry when your stock goes down your boss gives you a stern talking to in the women’s restroom.

Danielle called in all the way from three time zones away in Canada to tell a story about a friend she made in grade school who always had her back. Where do these wise nine-year-olds come from? Do they keep that kindness and grace when they become adults? I hope so. 

Simar, in his first story with us, talked about a trip to Europe that involved a heartless German ATM, trying to bribe a bank teller with a demi-baguette with pumpkin seeds, and being mistaken for an international PayPal scammer. For a storyteller, you really can’t ask for a better vacation.

Sooz, our other first-timer that night, told us what it was like being married to a wonderful man who happened to live and work in a junkyard. Personally, I can’t think of a more magical place to grow up than a junkyard but I’m willing to accept that I might be in the minority. I bet Sooz has a lot more stories about the years she spent helping to run that business. I hope she comes back and shares them with us.

If you’d like to know more about Sooz and how she’s helping small businesses in Seattle you can read this article from the Seattle Times: 
https://www.seattletimes.com/business/close-to-south-lake-unions-high-tech-bustle-a-retired-recycler-runs-a-blue-collar-preserve/

Cara, who was telling with us for the second time told a story about spending Christmas dinner with her dad and his sixth wife who was taking some time for herself at a sober living facility. Halfway through her story, I realized how little drama I have in my family life these days. I kinda miss it. Not sixth-wife-Christmas-dinner-in-rehab miss it but in my own slightly less madcap way I do miss it. Thank you Cara for sharing a little family history with us. I hope you told your sister that story and that she enjoyed it as much as we did.

Yousaf’s story about all the upside-down feelings he had over turning 30 made me remember all the times I hid my age from people after I turned 50. Is there any age that we’re excited about turning besides 18 or 21? Thank you for that sweet, vulnerable story about the crazy standards we set for ourselves. I didn’t feel like I was worth anything until just a few years ago. I wish my 30-year-old self could have felt better about himself.

Behnaz returned to us after a few months off to talk about the time she and her parents were almost crushed by a giant throng of shoppers in a mall in Dubai. Can you imagine dying under a pile of shopping bags full of Gucci loafers and Vera Wang totes? Killed while shopping is right up there with falling in the tub or choking on a sandwich. There’s no good way to spin that for the eulogy. What we learned from Behnaz’s story, though, was that almost dying can lead to profound changes in how you think about life. That’s one of the things I love about storytelling. It makes us reevaluate little moments from our lives and get a bigger perspective on them.

Our next show is February 18th. The theme is one we haven’t done in almost exactly five years. “The best bad thing that turned out good.” Look for the invite sometime this week.

Thanks again to not only the tellers but everyone who came out to support them. This is hard stuff. Speaking to a room full of strangers is terrifying for most people. To do it while being honest and vulnerable about a time in your life when you were struggling is a thousand times harder. Thank you for always showing kindness and patience to the people who are willing to walk up the microphone and do that.

See you next month 🙂

Paul
freshgroundstories@gmail.com