Boy, that sounds like a terrible blog post title. It doesn’t mean what it sounds like, though. I promise. This is a story about perspective and the way we look at the world.
Once, when I was about five years old living in St. Charles, IL, my family went to the grocery store. This was not a big trip for us. In fact, we lived so close that we frequently walked (and with six kids, there were enough people along to carry groceries back). The store parking lot was adjacent to our apartment building parking lot, but there was no way to drive from one to the other.
The placement of the store and our ability to walk from one to the other is very germane to this story. You see, with six kids, it was easy for our parents to lose track of us at almost any time. On the occasion in question, I had paused to look at the small selection of toys while my family had continued on around the end of the aisle.
From all reports, I didn’t panic. I went to the service desk at the front of the store and told them that I had a problem. “Are you lost?” they asked. “No, I know exactly where I am. My mom is lost, though, and I can’t find her,” was my response. This apparently amused the folks at the desk to no end, as they insisted on sharing it with my family when we were reunited. My family, in turn, shared that story for many years.
Think about that from the various perspectives involved – the service desk manager sees a child alone and naturally wonders if that child is lost. The child knows exactly where he is – in a store, a couple of hundred yards from his home, and perfectly safe. The parents don’t even realize the child is missing (they did just before being reunited). I can’t really blame them, with six adventurous kids it was hard to keep track of us. My younger sister got lost at the World’s Fair in Knoxville, TN, so my being misplaced at a grocery store was nothing.
As you write a story, it’s important to remember that every character in a scene has a different perspective on events and some of their perceptions might be drastically different than those of other characters or of the cold, hard reality of the situation. This applies in your everyday interactions with other folks, as well.