Simone (my 5 year old) plays soccer with Allison Lynn‘s and Michael Dahlie‘s son. I met them a year or so ago at a Butler University event organized by the creative writing savants over there. Avid fans will remember my writing connection to Butler in the form of the community fiction workshop and my good friend David J. Marsh. Enough name dropping. On with to tonight’s topic:
There is this mom at soccer who looks familiar. After several games trying to figure out how I knew her (trying, as in not asking her if we have met – that’s me, the nerd), I decided that she must be someone who has a common look. Cute, brunette, smart and hip. In my defense, you probably know someone who looks like that, complete with stylish glasses and an attractive overall demeanor.
Anyway, you know where this is going. “Hello. Evan is a cute kid and he really plays hard. Hey, you look familiar to me. Are you an author and an instructor at Butler? I think I met you at the creative writing center,” is what I should have said. Instead, I waited until we got home and I looked at the list of teammates. There was the last name Dahlie. I have a few more practices and a couple of games left to awkwardly or not awkwardly introduce myself and make a connection.
Here’s the thing. As I was telling my wife all of this, it occurred to me that there are too many times in our lives when we choose the so-called safe path. What’s worse? Telling someone they look familiar and having them not be the person you thought they were, leading to – what? – maybe an interesting conversation. Certainly not debilitating embarrassment or awkwardness. Think of the other possibility. That you tell someone they look familiar and it does turn out to be that person. Instant connection. And what’s better than connection? Or, you can just stay silent and have limiting conversations with yourself.
To review, I can think of three likely possibilities:
1. you say something and the person is not that person – connection made nonetheless, interesting conversation ensues
2. you say something and the person is that person – instant connection, interesting conversation ensues
3. you say nothing and the person turns out to be either that person or not that person – no connection, no interesting conversation. Only self-doubt and regret.
Okay, maybe I’m overstating it. But really. Take that step. Make mistakes. Go down swinging. Make something happen. Err on the side of action!
File this under “how many times must I learn the same lesson?” or “so what? now what?” or “ninety posts in ninety days”