A couple of nights ago Studly Doright and I enjoyed dinner in a slightly upscale (for Tallahassee) restaurant. We’d ordered our meal, and Studly excused himself to go to the men’s room. In his absence I looked around the room and listened to the buzz of conversation going on around us.
I didn’t intend to eavesdrop, I promise; nevertheless, my ears couldn’t help but pick up the tale being told at the table just on the other side of an artfully arranged barrier between our table and one a few feet away.
At that unseen, but nearby table, one man was holding court, detailing an encounter he’d had with someone of note. I never quite heard who he’d met, but the oohs and ahhs from his fellow diners indicated he/she was pretty impressive.
The longer I eavesdropped, I mean, listened, though, the more I realized that regardless of who this man had met he’d have made them seem amazing. Maybe it was his daughter’s pre-K teacher. Perhaps he was talking about the cashier at his local grocery store. It appeared to my ears that it was the storyteller who was the fascinating person.
I don’t mean that in a negative way. He wasn’t a boor. He just had a way of holding everyone’s attention and making a story about something mundane come alive. My husband has that ability. When he gets into storytelling mode, people listen.
I only wish I could pull that off. When I launch into a tale chances are 99% of those at the table tune out by the fourth sentence. And that poor sucker who represents the 1% is either too kind or maybe too inebriated to lose interest.
When Studly returned to the table I shifted my attention to him.
“So,” I asked. “How was your day?”
As he began to regale me with his tales of a fascinatingly ordinary day, I pictured someone at another table listening to him with a smile. Knowing an interesting person is infinitely better than being one.