The program is simple. Take an ordinary event and consider all the ways you could add tension, conflict, humor, surprise, etc. For example, having the house power-washed.
My house was scheduled for power-washing at 8:00 this morning. At 7:50 a loud—make that thunderous—noise outside the bedroom window made me jump and exclaim. What if it had caused a heart attack?
I was asked to back the car up a bit farther from the garage. What if I backed into the work truck? Or one of the workers? Or ran over a box turtle?
At one point a high-pitched squeal pierced the early morning silence. What if it triggered an epileptic seizure? Caused me to knock the tofu scramble from the stove-top to the floor, and I was running late already? Made the dog howl, the cat leap onto the curtains and pull them down, knocking over the parrot’s cage?
Then a worker moved all the potted plants to the far edge of the patio. What if he dropped a pot containing a rare heirloom orchid? Or wrenched his back moving the hanging baskets of rocks? Or dropped a decorative rock on his foot, breaking a toe, and falling through the French doors?
All the window screens were removed and set aside, leaning against a tree by the flowerbeds. What if squirrels played tag across the screens, knocking them from the tree and crushing the newly planted begonias?
When the washing actually started, what if the water roused a black snake from the foundation plantings? What if it had been a poisonous snake? Or what if an open window was overlooked? Who or what got drenched, and to what effect?
And I haven’t even touched on the possibilities of one spouse having scheduled the power-washing without informing the other spouse. Or the reactions of the neighbors. Or the dog-walker passing by. Or children who escape to play in the spray. Options go on and on.
Your assignment: Choose any mundane activity from today’s wealth—anything from doing laundry to going to the gym to hosting six for dinner—and take a few minutes to consider what if?