Unwillingly, I rolled down the window. Police officer standing by my vehicle introduced himself in a regulatory way and then moved into the essentials:
– You were driving a bit fast…
– Yes, I know – I was sincere, which wasn’t necessarily the best option.
– Where’s the rush?
I didn’t have a decent and believable answer to that. I needed to figure something out.
– I’m driving home… Iron… Yes, I left my iron on.
Officer’s eyebrows raised in a very specific manner, putting my skills in creating alternative reality in question. He sighed, then went on with the standard formula:
– Driving license and registration.
Expecting the worse, I looked for the documents. It took me quite a while, though finally I delivered all the papers. Upon checking them, the officer’s face turned red, which was in turn followed by weird grimace. He kept comparing me with the documents for a few moments.
– Sir, the similarity is obvious… But this driver’s license belongs to one Lucy Olczyk.
Indeed, it did. I sighed and added another piece of a puzzle.
– Yes, you see… I changed my sex recently.
Words to describe the looks on officer’s face weren’t invented yet. The awkward and sudden silence was becoming more and more uncomfortable. Stressed, I started to tap the steering wheel with my fingers. The officer tried to say something a few times, yet kept failing. Finally, he gave me my papers back.
– Okay, please go now, ma’am… I mean, sir.
I thanked him and drove off.
At this moment we were flooded with laughter and ovation.
All the above happened during one of the sessions of my improv theatre training group. For those of you unfamiliar with the term – it’s an unscripted play, in variety of forms. Only the setting was decided – I was to be pulled over. The rest was up to us.
Which means that – as far as I know – I did not change my sex.
The most important rule of improv is that whatever is said on stage, is true. The fact that I – as a person – would’ve never even consider a sex change, leave a woman with a child, or spit into my boss’ coffee – is irrelevant. If it was said on stage, I must consider it true and play on it further.
Funnily enough, the same rule applies to our daily lives. Whoever in your team, company, or in your life tells you something – that’s a fact. From that person’s perspective, that’s reality. You might know that actual facts are different – it’s okay. It might mean that that person has no access to some data, cannot read it properly, or lacks skill of interpreting it. It happens every now and then. And that’s actually great news – it’s an opportunity to straighten things up.
What others say, reflects their vision of reality. Don’t argue with it. Just help them align if necessary.