It was our 38th anniversary this month & I was grumpy my husband had bought tickets to something called Moth. I didn’t understand what it was, even after reading the email he forwarded. It turned out it was one of the most delightful evenings of the year.
Moth is an organization that encourages “true stories told live”. The performance in Pittsburgh included 3 Pittsburghers and 2 from NYC. Listening to each storyteller made you feel connected to them. It is rare to see the combination of authenticity & vulnerability on a stage.
Moving, poignant & lovely does not even begin to describe that night.
I am someone who struggles with casual conversation. Spill your guts & I know what to do. All day long I listen to people’s stories, some that no one else knows. So I have a reverence for stories & know how they help people to connect with each other.
So here is one story I would like to tell:
Many years ago I was treated badly by an ER nurse at a psychiatric hospital because I cared too much about the disposition of a client. While I make far less money as a social worker, I feel it’s the right place for me because there is more room for caring. As a social worker, I used to do home visits which I miss to this day.
Caring too much is often dismissed as naiveté.
My husband & I live in the city, which is a much more colorful place because our neighborhood has a wide range of incomes. We live on top of a hill with a great view. One night we were driving up the hill & stopped abruptly because a truck had stopped & we waited while a rail-thin drunk who couldn’t open the door, clambered in through the open window.
The truck careened up the hill & into someone sitting or laying on the sidewalk. Within seconds we pulled over as an ambulance charged past us to the man on the sidewalk, which must have been called previously. The paramedics piled out as we were still trying to register what had happened.
The girls in the car ahead of us were screaming. I left the passenger’s seat to cry out that the truck who hit him was getting away, not really registering that there were only two paramedics to work on the body.
I yell out in complete frustration “Does anybody care?” “I do, that’s why I came back.” yelled a drunken man staggering down the hill. The driver had pulled over & returned.
It was a real only in Pittsburgh moment, where else does a drunk hit & run driver return to the scene of the crime when he could have easily escaped? Amidst the pure horror of a stranger dead on the sidewalk, people do care.
The risk of caring is an act of courage. The man who cared was sentenced to serve time, I read in the papers. I was never required to be a witness.
To hear even better stories go to the Moth website: www.themoth.org