The only time work was ever mandatory was during Extravaganza, our school’s big day of music festival. My first year was the 30th anniversary of the concert, so they went all out. I worked a lot of hours the day before, setting up the stage in the soccer stadium. At night, I went to the track where a 24-hour walkathon for cancer was in progress. I walked a few laps, and then joined one of my friends in a tent that she had set up for all the people on our team. I got some rest after working ten hours that day.
I woke up to the sound of some guitarist strumming the most basic chords and wailing a fairly cheesy hippie song about how we don’t give enough money to poor people. I went back to the field to continue setting up. I would stay there until 5 A.M. the next day.
In the afternoon, the artists’ vans started appearing, and by the early evening, the lesser-known bands of the lineup had taken the stage. I was resting underneath it when my boss announced that popular DJ and mash-up artist Girl Talk was looking for dancers on stage.
My co-workers and I wound up participating in the best on stage dance party ever. It was a blast. After the set I ran into Girl Talk backstage, and he offered me some of his catered food. I declined in exchange for taking a picture with him, and told him that it was one of the most fun experiences of my life.
A little while later, Ludacris was performing. An odd amount of police had gathered in the area, and I wanted to get away from the crowds and found a back platform of the stage, where some random people were hanging out. I figured they were part of his crew. I was nodding along to the music.
“When I move you move,” I repeated along, looking at a girl on the same platform.
“I don’t know this one,” she responded, very stoically
Whatever. I continued enjoying myself. A little while later I went down from the platform and ran into my friend Erika.
“Why were you talking to Lindsey Lohan?” she asked.
“What are you talking about? Stop being weird. You’ve been working too long.”
I left her and found a groundskeeper I had befriended after spending the entire day working on the same field. The cops were still all around.
“Why so many cops?”
“I think that it’s because Lindsey Lohan’s here,” he said, pointing at the platform.
It turns out that Erika wasn’t so crazy and I really did talk to Lindsey Lohan, and she really didn’t know the lyrics to Ludacris. My boss eventually got the pleasure of telling her she couldn’t come back onto the platform, his one opportunity in life to tell her off.
After working on this show until five in the morning, I came to the conclusion that my life in college would continue to be ridiculous as always, incredibly entertaining, and I was pretty glad about that.
Little did my friend know that her question would prompt me to begin ambitiously pining that question. I had been discovering that our lives contain stories, are stories, and are part of a bigger story, and connecting with these stories and their Author results in a life really being life.
Over the course of a month and a week in Argentina, I would spend nights in my homestay without internet just typing furiously away my story. It didn’t feel like work at all, it was as natural as stream of consciousness writing is. When I finished, I wound up with over 200 pages on Microsoft Word. Single spaced.
What I had was my story on paper. It was a story about redefining love, rediscovering faith, and releasing hang-ups. It's a story worth telling, as is anyone's who pays attention to story in their lives.
In a culture so focused on facts and arguments, it's important that we don't lose sight of how humans really experience the world: through story.
This is my story. I'm just putting it out there. There will be some moments I look back on fondly, and there will be some moments where I will be very vulnerable with you.
I will be posting a bit from my story everyday. It's a long read, what I wrote. This will probably be a lot more manageable.
Thanks for following along.
The story begins on 30 January. Subscribe via RSS.