101 Days, 101 Strangers, 101 Stories: Day 16

Tonight I was at a lovely outdoor coffee house listening to and performing some music. The emcee of the evening was hilarious and performed a very romantic, poetic rap about his first love: pizza.

Obviously, he had to be my stranger of the day.

Meet Liam. In addition to rapping tonight, he made an appearance on the bassoon and the recorder. This summer, he’s spending some time learning to sing and play piano. He went to a music store to purchase a triangle today but ended up buying two because he panicked.

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He’s studying linguistics and hopes to one day become a high school teacher. He seems like the kind of person who would do a great job at that in the best of ways.

He was such a funny person that I just had to ask him to tell me one of his funniest stories. He told me about his high school prom adventures. At a prom orientation event (which he so thoughtfully clarified happened on a Monday, and not the Saturday of prom) he was told about corsage etiquette. Liam didn’t know what corsages were, so he asked the guy sitting next to him, who told him that they were really easy to make.

Liam, being the procrastinator that he is, waited until the night before to watch some YouTube videos about how to make corsages. It ended up being a bit of an exercise in futility since he didn’t actually have any of the materials required.

One nighttime flower-scavenging adventure and an angry gardening neighbour later, he ripped one of his ties in half and secured the flowers to it with hockey tape and voila: he had a corsage. His prom date laughed and her family loved it.

A year later he did the same thing with a different date but this time it didn’t bode nearly as well. The girl’s mom was so terribly unimpressed that she took the corsage off of her daughter’s wrist, threw it away, and gave her the corsage she had as a backup as if she had expected Liam to have screwed up somehow. It was awkward at the time but is now one of those things that’s funny to look back on.

His life advice? “Embrace the awkwardness. Accidents are inevitable–“, he said, as he accidentally dropped his bassoon to the ground with a timely clunk. “–But it’s up to you whether they become mistakes or miracles.”

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