My Literary Journalism class this semester was sneaky and registered under the title of Narrative Nonfiction. When I signed up for this class, I imagined we would be analyzing the narrative voice in essays or novels (Yes, I willingly signed up to do this), not interviewing people.
Most of the assignments so far have been non-threatening. Observe a scene (no interviewing involved here!), and interview a relative, which can still be pretty nerve wracking. But now we have been assigned a profile. This is when you interview someone you don’t know (or don’t know well) and write about their life.
This does not appeal to me…at all. I’m generally a quiet person. I don’t like talking to people I don’t know and I especially don’t like asking for favors. People always tell me the worst thing that could happen is that I’d be told no. But I don’t like being told no. I don’t like being rejected when it’s so hard to put myself out there in the first place.
I’ve been worrying about who to interview for weeks and finally decided to contact Scott, a friend from work and see if he would let me interview him.
I work on campus with the maintenance crew two weeks out of the summer. It’s called “The Turn” and we flip rooms and get them ready for new students. There are 14 buildings with 264 suits that each have four bedrooms. Those two weeks are so intense that we become a sort of strange family. But outside of those two weeks, I don’t really know Scott terribly well.
I like all the maintenance guys I work with but especially Scott. Probably because he teases me the most. Scott is a laid back, funny, kinda weird guy for the most part. But every now and again when he was frustrated it was easy to assume that he just hated everyone.
I still had Scott’s number from The Turn but I was afraid he would say no. Maybe I was stepping over the boundary of our summer friendship by asking this favor. I didn’t want next year to be awkward if we worked together again. I opened my messages and typed out my request and just sat there.
I stared at the send button for five minutes. I made myself sick thinking of all the ways this could go wrong. Lightheaded and nauseous, I pressed send and laid on the ground in despair. My best friend Jessica who was sitting on her bed said I was being melodramatic and because she’s an asshole, she took this wildly unflattering picture (Hope you enjoy).
Read the second part of this story in the next post