If all goes according to plan, I have a podcast that will be live on July 14—Ordinary Chaos. This post was born in that project, but the takeaway isn’t about the podcast. Hang with me.
Ordinary Chaos has several different threads within it, but the overall premise is that people don’t need to be famous to be interesting.
We love learning about the lives of celebrities, but they’re just people with a job that happens to make their existence known to you and lots of other people.
What about the people whose jobs makes them known to you who you overlook? Cashiers, teachers, mail carriers, receptionists, waiters, custodians, Uber drivers. Even people who have culturally-respected jobs aren’t often noticed.
I’m setting out to interview ordinary (read: not famous) people and talk to them and highlight their interesting bits. Because everyone has interesting bits, even the people whose lives feel … well … ordinary.
Everyone has a story. Everyone has a point of view. Everyone has hopes. Everyone has a way they thought their life was going to go and a reaction to that compared to their current reality.
I’ve loved talking with people so far, and I expect it will continue to be excellent.
The piece that has been striking and, honestly, a little sad, is how many people have completely dismissed themselves.
Most people who have declined being interviewed and given a reason have cited not being interesting. (For the record, “No thanks, I’m not interested at this time” is a complete response.) So far, these are all people I socialize with and I already know they’re interesting. Why would I hang out with boring people?
One of my hopes in producing this podcast is for not-famous people to listen and realize that their story is one worth telling, that their story is interesting. That their day-to-day looks like others’ in some ways and not in others. Since our house is the only house we live in, we don’t necessarily realize that things we assume to be true for everyone aren’t.
Even among households of similar demographics, households run differently. Ask people if they make their bed. How often they change the sheets. How often they wash towels. How often they iron clothes. What dinnertime looks like at their house (what type of food, what quantity, what time, who prepares it, what’s the atmosphere at the table, etc.). Even within these mundane details, there’s a ton of variety and with a group of people, the potential to have lively and hilarious conversation about laundry. Or food in the fridge.
I don’t think anyone is The Most Interesting Person, but I think many of us are more interesting than we believe ourselves to be because we’re used to us.
So tell me—how many times do you use a bath towel before you wash it?