Monday, December 3, 2012

Passing the Time with Stories

When I was a little girl and couldn’t sleep at night, I’d make up stories. Unfortunately, they were sad and depressing, and sometimes I’d make myself cry. (No wonder I had nightmares.) At any rate, I’ve always been a storyteller. When I sit at an airport, I make up lives for all the waiting people based on the clues I see on them or their luggage. For example, a sighing sixty-year old woman with an iPhone covered in stickers—she got it from her daughter (not daughter-in-law because a d.i.l. wouldn’t usually presume to let her kids cover the phone in stickers), son-in-law, and grandkids. And grandma is still trying to figure out how to use it.

I make up stories about houses I drive by, especially those I pass frequently. There was the house with the lovely front garden that fell into disrepair. At first, it was because the woman gardener had a baby and she was too tired with the midnight and 2am feeding to keep up with the weeds. Then, as the situation got worse, eventually so bad that thistles grew up among the paving stones, I decided that the woman had cancer and died. And her husband was grieving so much he couldn’t even bear spraying Roundup. For weeks, I teared up when I drove past.

And I even make up stories about vanity license plates. Yesterday, we saw a plate that read PBJ 3930. I would have thought it was arbitrary but this state had only 6 character normal plates. So as we drove my husband and I made up stories. The license plate was a Christmas gift when the husband ate his 3930th  Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich. Or the guy played the lottery and he hit the Power Ball Jackpot on his 3930th lottery ticket purchase. (It wasn’t that nice of a car, so maybe the jackpot didn’t cover the cost of all the tickets.) Our last thought was that the wife was a Professional Baseball Junkie and had watched her 3930th baseball game (she watches the Japanese and Dutch league as well as MLB). Of course, there is the possibility that Georgia has now added a seventh character to their license plates. But that’s not as much fun.

What about you? Do you make up stories to pass the time? Do you have a guess as to what the PBJ 3930 represented?


  1. Hmm ... initials and last four digits of his phone number?

    I always used to love sitting in the car in the grocery store parking lot and just watching the people going in and out, speculating about their lives and shopping habits. Somehow it seemed safer than doing the same sort of thing inside the store!

  2. I make up stories to keep my kids entertained. They're usually weird, wacky and don't really make sense!

  3. LOL! This is awesome!

  4. I'm always thinking up stories about people or houses. One house I refer to as The Perfect House and I had a whole Perfect Story to go with it. I just knew a Perfect Lady lived there, who for some unknown reason, developed an English-aristocratic accent in my mind. I knew Perfect Lady tended her Perfect Garden and cooked Perfect Meals. Every time we'd drive by I told Wayne I just knew that someday I'd be invited inside and we'd have a Perfectly Perfect Tea Party.

    Then one day I met Perfect Lady at a yard sale and she is actually a Perfectly Obnoxious Person...and she doesn't even have an English accent. Poof! There went my Perfect Dream.

    ...However, her house and yard really are Perfection :>)

  5. When my kids go through the "why?" phase I loved to come up with the most bizarre answers possible and enjoy their wide eyes.

    But otherwise, I'm unfortunately too lost in a fantasy world that I often story opportunities around me. I admire people that have fun with them!

  6. I love making up stories though i try as much as possible to make it have some semblance to the real thing. Great post!

  7. I still say it wasn't a vanity license plate.

  8. But of course I make up stories about people and things I see... but I don't believe I've ever made myself cry over my imagined stories. (Now, THAT'S talent!) PBJ? That's only meant ONE thing in our house. We even have a fancy sign hanging on our kitchen wall that I painted years ago, saying, "Try our famous Peanut butter and jelly sandwich.")