Friday, February 5, 2010

Familiar Patterns

I have been noticing recently how so many people’s stories are the same or very similar to each other in some way.  I was talking to a young woman today who told me about how and why she came to the U.S., and it was a story I had heard a hundred times before.  She had gotten her education in her home country, where she had learned to speak English, then came to the U.S. to do some further study and then perhaps look for work.

It’s not just the foreigner’s anecdote that is so familiar.  I’ve been hearing stories from people about their economic suffering, their experiences with having had a specific interest or hobby earlier in their lives that they grew out of.  And it’s not just their overall stories, but even minute details that are so similar from person to person.  It’s like there’s a collective experience that is had in many areas, and I’ve been let in on a lot of these recently.

Maybe it’s partially due to getting older.  At age 20, people's experiences would seem fresh, but then more than double those years on the planet, and it’s harder to find the unique story.  I suppose a seasoned reporter would experience the same thing.