Brief Discussion about the Stupid Idea

With Gabrielle Freeman and Dave Housley

The stupid idea: All the Things We Have in Common

Dave Housley: The original idea came when I was paddleboarding on a local lake with my son. We were going in one direction and a woman and her daughter were going by in the other direction, and we gave each other those nods of recognition that you might give to another bicycle commuter, or somebody with the same make model color of car, that nod that says "we share one thing in common, and it's a pretty big obvious thing and now here we are face to face so: hello there." Like my stupid brain often does, it started to make the tentacles of a story: two people on paddleboards going in opposite directions, with this one thing in common, and maybe they have all these other things in common, too. Maybe they're both divorced. Maybe they moved to this area from a more urban area and they're each paddleboarding to try to overcompensate for the fact that they secretly hate the outdoors, the clean air, the mountain lakes. They make up for it by buying expensive Prana clothing and forcing themselves to paddleboard. But maybe the story is one of them having all of those thoughts and then in the end really it's just the paddleboarding, that's the only thing they have in common. So the title would be "All the Things We Have in Common" and the first line would be "we're both standing on paddleboards."

That was all a more lucid version of the ideas of the story I kind of flashed on that day on the lake. For the record, I like what you did with it so much more than the description I just wrote or the idea in my head.

Gabrielle Freeman:  I love the idea of overcompensating for the fact that they both hate the outdoors! Too funny.

I immediately loved the idea of the stupid idea junk drawer without seeing the actual prompts. Yay for Facebook posts! I was attracted to the Nikki Sixx prompt, but I kept coming back to the photo of the paddleboarders partially because I am a water person and partially because of the clothing on the two people in the image. The guy is wearing long shorts and a long-sleeve shirt, and the girl is wearing a bikini. I thought, how is this even the same day? Then I thought about the prompt, and I thought, maybe they don't have anything but paddleboarding in common. So we were thinking along the same lines there. But after hearing your thought process, I know that my poem would have been different if the image had been like your experience, with the twopeople passing in opposite directions. Hmm, hmm!

The people look so happy and healthy and peaceful and lalala in the picture that I knew I couldn't allow it. They had to be pretending. They had to be secretly unhappy. Evil, I know. The song "Girls. girls, girls" kept going through my mind, and that was when it came to me. You know when you hear a song from some other point in your life, and it's not just nostalgia that you feel? It's a physical longing to be there, in that moment, with that person. With that other person, regardless of who you're with. So I brought in the song and then I realized that the two people really do have a lot in common, even silly things like crushes on 80's hair bands, but they have no real connection. The tragedy of it is that they keep their real thoughts to themselves; they keep pretending. I think it's probably a good thing that we can't read minds.