Friday, March 18, 2016

It's Not Necessary to Narrate Everything You See

"It's Not Necessary to Narrate Everything You See." Did you see that headline? It said "It's Not Necessary to Narrate Everything You See."

I point it out, in case the person in your life who narrates everything they see wasn't there with you. I point it out, in case you're the person who narrates everything they see, so you can see what everyone else's day is like.

Have you ever been on a car trip with a life narrator? They spend the whole trip reading billboards or distance markers out loud.

"Chicago, 87 miles," they'll say, even though everyone else can see how far away Chicago is.

Person A: "There's a McDonald's in five miles."

Person B: "Do you want to stop at McDonald's?"

Person A: "No, I was just saying there's a McDonald's up ahead."

Person B: ". . ."

Person A: "You know, in case you wanted McDonald's."

Person B: "I'm fine. We just ate an hour ago."

Person A: "I know. I'm just putting it out there."

Person B: ". . ."

Person A: "How long before we get to Chicago?"

I should point out that I'm not referring to anyone in my family, especially my wife. I know better than that.

"Hey, look. There's a billboard for Francis 'The Shark' Coltello, divorce attorney."

It's not just car trips, though. It's everywhere. They narrate everything happening around them, just to make sure no one else misses it. Even though we're right next to them.

"There's a new building going up over there."

"That gas station is on fire."

"That fire engine sure seems in a hurry."

My youngest daughter used to do this at the grocery store when she was little. She pointed out certain items she liked, and made sure I saw them. "Daddy, look, there are some apples. . . Cap'n Crunch cereal. That's your favorite. . ."

She just wanted to give a little shout-out to the things she really liked. She didn't even want them, she wanted to draw my attention to the fact that they were there. I would even ask, "is this your sneaky way of trying to get me to buy cookies?"

"No, I just like showing them to you."

I've been noticing this life narration phenomenon more lately, especially when we're in large public places, like Disney World.

"Hey, there's Winnie the Pooh!"

"Ooh, look, the parade is coming."

"Do you see that float? The giant lighted one that's straight in front of us? The one that looks like a neon dragon? Do you see it?"

Admittedly, these are young parents trying to engage their children's interest, and get them to stop screaming incessantly for no particular reason. But the behavior never seems to change over time. They keep doing it, and it just gets progressively louder and more annoying as they get older.

Also, the kids are still annoying whiners.

The worst is when we're in one of my favorite exhibits, the France or United States pavilions at Epcot.

France's centerpiece attraction is an 18-minute film of the amazing sights of France, like the French Alps, the Palace of Versailles, and the Eiffel Tower, all set to well-known French classical music. It's a chance to immerse ourselves into the very heart of France.

Complete with a running commentary from the couple sitting behind us.

"Ooh, Versailles! It's so pretty. Isn't that pretty?"

"Aww, they're getting married! Remember when we got married?"

"Mmm, don't those pastries look good. France is really known for their desserts."

My other favorite — and a favorite of life narrators everywhere — is the American Adventure, the 20 minute animatronic rundown of American history, as discussed by longtime friends Ben Franklin and Mark Twain. I'm also a sucker for the "Golden Dream" movie at the very end, which is professionally engineered to make everyone in the room cry.

Just at the emotional peak, when the lump in my throat can't get any bigger, and I can't love America anymore, I get this from the seats behind me:

"Oh, it's 9/11!"

"Look, Michelle Kwan! I remember those Olympics."

A-a-a-a-nd it's gone. I don't ask for much. I only wanted the full emotional breadth and depth of these short movies, seeing images of people who made America great, or France's artistic and natural beauty. I'm only asking for a few minutes of silence so I can fully experience everything they offer.

But I can't because I sat in front of Barbara Exposition and her husband Steve Obvious, who are unsure that the other person is looking at the exact same movie screen they are. So as we're leaving, I share a few observations of my own.

"It's 1200 miles from here to Chicago. Why don't you go back there? There's a McDonald's on the way."

You can find my books Branding Yourself (affiliate link), No Bullshit Social Media, and The Owned Media Doctrine on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million, or for the Kindle or Nook.

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