What story would you tell?
Yesterday I wrote about a half-naked woman who walked through a downtown intersection looking distressed. I thought she might need help and wondered anxiously whether I should get off my bicycle and approach her.
I started to tell my daughter about her last night. She stopped me and said, Wait. I’ve seen her. Twice, in fact.
Turns out this woman often walks back and forth on Bloor Street — the premium jewellery and designer row in Toronto. Tiffany’s, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana line the sidewalks. You can buy watches worth a quarter of a million dollars.
Which brings me back to . . . no, that’s neither true nor polite. Anyone who exhibits him- or herself on a regular basis like that must have something going on in the head. Maybe she likes to shock — which certainly worked for my daughter’s visiting friend from New Zealand. Maybe she works for Toronto tourism. Maybe she’s in mental distress. Maybe social workers should . . .
I related the earlier story, about the woman’s possibly escaping a bad situation, to one of my closest friends, a psychologist. That’s your story, she said firmly. You don’t know what her story is. Every person looking at her makes a story about her, but only she knows what it is. You just like to think she’s in distress.
She was right. We are all natural storytellers, and that’s okay. So what story would you tell?