The art of storytelling … and the accidental racism in the tale too
Why it’s a good idea to tell your story in a diverse crowd
In college, I taught a friend how to drive. Actually, I just guided her through a parking lot and around the campus before she freaked out and wanted to switch places. I thought it was ballsy of her to buy a car before she learned to drive, but I respected that she was confident enough to do so. There was absolutely no way someone would shell out hundreds of dollars to own something and then not learn to operate the thing they bought.
She would ask other college friends to help her with driving lessons when I was unavailable. By the time she tagged along with me to Chicago for her first Thanksgiving celebration, I was pretty impressed with how she was driving. That is, until we got to a gas station. I got out of the car to pay at the pump and heard her yelling my name while chasing an empty car.
Recommended Read: “Tales of a first-time driving instructor and a lesson in humor ~ When it’s time to joke and when it’s time to learn”
I’ve told this story plenty of times to relatives and a couple of college friends, and it was a hit. But I realized it wasn’t so funny to her after the third person on Thanksgiving asked me about it. Instead of telling the story with all the suspense of what happened with the car, I emphasized how much she’d improved her driving.
To me, the story was harmless. In fact, I would often tell a similar story about how I almost hit a tree during my early driving lesson days with my mother. I tell this story way more than my mother does because she was so absolutely calm while I was zooming straight onto the sidewalk. (Of note, I am a road warrior who rarely likes being in the passenger seat for the past two decades. But at 16, I was sure I’d fail driver’s ed.)