Sep 13

Robbery – Different Responses

Being an ill-fated gofer between a forced cash withdraw and the barrel of a gun isn’t high on the average person’s list of Sunny Summer Day Activites. For most, it would land on the Worst Day Ever Scenarios to be Avoided at All Costs list.

Being o the non-trigger end of the gun is terrifying. Fortunately for me, nothing else happened. For others, facing the end of a gun while a robbery is in progress meet different challenges.

Fearing for your own life, and what might become of those you love, you hand over your boss’s hard earned cash. Minutes feel like days. Gathering his money, the robber makes his get-a-way. Even though you were there, you wonder if what happened did happen.

At some point it hits. What happened, really did happen. It is often here where people wonder if anything will ever feel or be the same again.

Yet people’s reactions, feelings and what happens after the robbery are different.

Members and guests in the pool area at the local sports club gather around the whirlpool. Some people sit, while others stand. Muffled conversations and the persistent hum of jet-propelled water filter through the aroma of chlorine. A woman shares her experience.

“My husband was robbed at work … ” Quieting, attentive hot tub listeners lean in.

“He was held up at gunpoint … ” Her story continues. “We’ve been in counseling for two years just in case it happens again.” 

Pausing, she looks down. “I’m not a member. My husband can’t work. He could have gotten killed … “

A group of employees perch on cold metal chairs in a semi-abondoned storage room filled with decaying cardboard boxes. Gathering around they share their experiences of being robbed. The father of a young girl briefly interrups. He almost didn’t believe she was still alive.

A lady speaks up. “This is my third time. I don’t think it gets any easier, but some [robberies] are just funnier than others.”

Wiping a tear from her eye, “He had a gun.” Laughing, she continues, “His get-a-way car was a one speed bike.”

A few months later this same lady was robbed again. Her story continues. “Going to court was the worst but after that I just felt sorry for him. I still write to the them in prision.”

Not all people involved robberies come out alive or uninjured. The stories are not to judge or minimize what happened or how it impacted these peoples lives. 

When things happen non of us know how we would react. Your don’t know. I don’t know.

Robberies happen. Robbers don’t target specific people. They rob for the money.

When challenging things happen, find the support you need. Find the strength inside yourself. If we are honest, it has always been there. These things can make a different in how you move through what happened.

About Grace Wolbrink

Festival of the Arts: A red and white striped tent with the words Storytelling draped across the front signaled the location of my first, official storytelling performance. Enthusiastic story listeners of all ages began filling rows of standardized metal folding chairs and multi-colored carpet squares. Once filled, curious onlookers peered in from the opened flaps. My five-year daughter and I take the stage. Silence fills the air. Audience members lean back. Their shoulders relax as they prepare to hear yet another mysteriously enchanting and engaging story. With the last story being told, audience’s resounding applause begins to fade. Streams of delighted listeners’ step forward. Enthusiastic voices fill the air: “Thank you! I loved your stories! Glad you were here!” . . . Relishing in the honored glow of a performance well done, we say our final good-byes. Stepping off stage I am greeted by a middle aged man, dressed in blue, carrying two folding chairs; one in each hand. Politely, he requests a moment of my time. Anxiously, I agree. Once seated, he smiles briefly. In the extending moments of time which follow he tells me of a performer who demonstrates tremendous potential in an art and art form she seemingly knows nothing about. Formally, awkwardly, we exchange our good-byes. Standing here in stunned silence, I stare into the empty rows of metallic chair across from me. The previous emotional high ignited at the hands of our audience’s delighted, resounding applause now rivals the infamous mind-numbing chatter of an all too familiar: . . . “If only I would of . . .; I know I could of . . .; I just should of . . .” Yet somehow, out of nowhere, in-between the predictable, yet inspirational words of literature’s litany and the uncertain carnage of its oral word traditions; my storytelling journey begins. A journey that will someday lead me into discovering the answers to these all-important questions: • What is storytelling? • What is a storyteller? • How do I, or does anyone else, tell a story without memorizing someone else’s published, literary words? Having completed nearly a decade of graduate and post graduate training, I spent considerable time collecting stories from people living under various types of oppressed conditions. Yet, sitting here, in this moment, I realized two things. First, I knew nothing about the art and artistry of storytelling; an art form and a venue I had neither experienced nor encountered before. Second, I had based my performance on what I thought storytelling was: the memorization of someone else’s literary words; crafted in the language and format, specifically designed for written word communication. In gratitude and appreciation to this man, whose name escapes me, but whose courage does not, I began my journey into the world of storytelling and the artistry of story development. For it is through this journey, coupled with the dedicated coaching and guided inspiration from my no longer four-year-old daughter, I decided to write this book as an experiential guide into the art of storytelling and the artistry of story development. As for me, thank goodness yesterday’s news is in the past . . . burned, recycled, outdated or simply expired . . . what-ever or however; it’s gone. A new journey unfolds. Today’s headlining news now reads . . . Story Artistry Rocks, Rules and Drools! For through my personal journey into the world of storytelling and storytellers I realized two things. First – storytelling is truly an art form and storytellers are truly artists. The second is how the stories we choose to tell are part of us; a part of who we are as unique individuals immersed in the reality of our own lives. Each story eloquently encompasses the nuances of personality, adventure, quirks and the I-can’t-believe-it-actually-happened moments in life. For in story as in life, its characters’ are as outlandishly adventurous, deviously mischievous and outrageously zany as any of us truly are. For it is here, in the truth of this reality, where the captivating and compelling power of story lies.
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