Starege and Narrative

This is a made-up word Jeff and I use when we are out in public. It refers to what people do when I walk past them or sit at a table or look at books in Hastings or breathe: STARE. After around 5 months of full-time covering, I have an auto-pilot response to starege. Just smile slightly and continue being as though no one else has their mouth hanging open. Jeff likes to say after we are out of others’ hearing, “You got lots of starege.”

Now that I am on the receiving end of starege, I am much more sympathetic to others who have some sort of physical deformity, handicap or whatever that they didn’t choose for themselves. I make eye-contact with them and say hello, making sure my jaw stays within polite limits.  I watched a tv show a couple weeks ago that featured a young man who was born without legs. He uses a skateboard most of the time to get around instead of a wheelchair. He also likes to photograph what others’ reactions are to seeing him roll by. Click. Hahaha! I wish I could have a small camera in my bonnet to do the same thing.

The young man in the tv program liked to ask people what their first impression was of him; the story they made up in their heads of ‘what happened to that man’. When he traveled in a war-torn area, they thought he had lost his legs to a land mine, for instance.

So I was thinking over this idea of a mental narrative we seem to frame whenever we encounter something unusual, like a woman wearing a bonnet in Wal-Mart. Why does she use a cane or why is that man talking so slowly? Everyone has a story. Sometimes they don’t like to share with strangers; some will tell anybody or anything(!) what happened to them. What I’ve found is that most people like to know you care enough to ask and listen.

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4 Responses to “Starege and Narrative”


  1. 1 Amy January 18, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    I love the term starege! I am going to remember that! Keep covering sister!!
    Love Amy

  2. 2 Regina January 20, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    I love that word! There is lot’s of starege when I’m out because not only do I cover but I wear cape dresses and boy you should see the starege! Just keep on doing what the Lord wants you to do.

  3. 3 L August 29, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    I get the exact same when I cover.

  4. 4 Shana March 7, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Wow how crazy is this…. my last name is “Starege”


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