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Local Tourist: The Stories We Tell

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Let’s talk about talking for a moment. I talk a lot about my hometown, about how proud I am of its growth, about how much I appreciate those who invest time into building it up. And although I mean what I say wholeheartedly, there is also another language in which I am well-versed. My inactions articulate apathy; eloquent excuses roll right off my tongue. I’m too busy. I’m too broke. I’d rather just stay at home. These are not the stories for which I want to be known.

Speaking of stories, there is a fantastic event known as Storytellers here in town. It takes place once a month at Roasted Café and Lounge. Yet despite my genuine interest in this event, both literal and Facebook official (i.e. the “Interested” button that I use and abuse like a fiend), Storytellers has eluded me time and time again—or I have eluded it. An elaborate storyteller myself (see confession above), I can paint a pretty, witty word picture of all the reasons I am unable to attend. The main reason, I tell myself, is that I am only allotted a social quota of about three nights per week, which I inevitably expend every weekend. Storytellers takes place on the second Tuesday of every month. Thus, my selfish, sluggish dilemma begins. However, I have now chosen to see the city through a local tourist lens, creating a dilemma for my dilemma; and when I saw that Storytellers was taking place on Tuesday, June 13th at 7 PM, I boldly selected “Going” this time around.

A friend of mine and I arrive at the event a few minutes early. We each order a beer and then head back outside to enjoy the weather—and, quite frankly, to rally. We have made it downtown on a Tuesday, but we both seem to be wondering if we actually have the stamina to be fully there. But just like a couple of kids dangling their legs in the pool after inhaling a bunch of hotdogs, we stop worrying about whether or not we would sink or swim and decide to just jump in.

Once inside, I feel oddly energized by the orchestra of unspectacular sounds—the first storyteller has already begun, the fan above the stove is humming nice and slow, utensils clank politely against plates, and the occasional cough or chuckle fills the space. I hastily glance at the menu, deciding to order a cheeseburger, less so out of hunger and more so out of a desire to have something to do with my hands.

The theme for the night is “So I threw it out the window,” which is how each story is suppose to end. The first story ends with the storyteller throwing himself out of a window. It is the tale of a brave young man, circa high school, escaping the wrath of a teenage girl’s dad.

A petite, fierce-looking woman takes the microphone and my friend and I, currently lingering in the back, are invited to join everyone else up front. Our coyness is not cutting it with Koryn Young, the second storyteller of the evening and the adoptive mother of the Storytellers event. We find a small table in center of the room, listening as Koryn tells the story of her longtime best friend. Tragically, the story ends with her throwing her friend out of a window, which is unexpected but also in keeping with the theme. Her friend was not a person, but a plant, yet she was devastated nonetheless.

She hands the microphone to the next storyteller and I am immediately reminded of Eric Forman’s basement on That ‘70s Show. You know the scenes I’m referring to, the ones where everyone sits around a make-shift coffee table, a curtain of smoke in the background as they say anything and everything that comes to mind. It is silly and satisfying and never loses its impact over time.

The third storyteller starts off with a confession. He does not like to share his food. I find this especially relatable as I listen with half a cheeseburger in one hand and a fry or three in the other. His story is about one man’s journey to acquire a taste for Ethiopian food. It is not a success. Out the window it goes!

The fourth and final storyteller comes and goes and I am desperately searching my memory for my own story to tell. I am not ready for the event to be over and I cannot believe it has taken me this long to attend. My excuses for missing out on this event and other local events like it seem petty and unimpressive to me now. And while I do love telling stories, I am tired of the same old narrative claiming that I am too busy or too broke to participate in Macon’s growth, so I threw it out the window.

Without further ado, your new and improved Two-Week To-Do:

Brent Cobb w/ Bonnie Bishop – Saturday, June 24th at 8 PM at Cox Capital Theatre

“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” – Sunday, June 25th at 3 PM at The Douglass Theatre

First Hoppy Hour of the Summer – Monday, June 26th at 6:30 PM at Rosa Parks Square

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