“So when an elderly woman directed a comment at him about all the trash on the street — the kind of thing most of us nod at vaguely and tune out — he engaged. Another student was more impulsive, striking up a conversation with the woman in front of him at a post office. (Surprisingly, it turned out she regularly goes out of her way to reach this notably busy station, because she likes the staff.) “She was the nicest person that I’ve met in New York,” he reported.” from Medium HT John Johnston
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So I was at a paint store. This paint store was busy so me and my boyfriend have been waiting around for a while. Well some older gentleman brought this dog into the store. I was thinking “Isn’t that against store policy?”. Well he stood right behind me. And started talking. Apparently, his dog runs 35 mph, faster than a greyhound, she’s part whippet. she likes to dress up and look at herself in a mirror, and runs races. And she’s named Peaches because of the light brown spots on her… during our conversation he did ask me about my dog, and he let me pet his (it’s more like he led her to me and I had no choice but to pet her). So yeah, it was awkward, and I’m not sure how accurate the information was that he gave me.
So there I was. I went to school at 2:30 in the morning to turn in a paper that was due at midnight. Luckily the professor doesn’t show up to take up all the papers at midnight. So I go into the computer lab to print out the paper and surprisingly there’s another student in the computer lab. It’s crazy to think I’m not the only person up at school at 2 o’clock in the morning. She let me into the computer lab. So I asked her,” What are you up so late for? project?” She says,” yeah, unfortunately my computer is running slow and this is the nearest lab. What about you?” I reply,” I’m here just turning in work.”
So when I leave, she says,” Good luck!” and I said,”Be safe!” It’s pretty scary out at night…
So in my video job i encounter a lot of people. But the first time i met the photgrapher for the Fredericksburg paper was great. We had like a 10 minute talk on the UMW Basketball team (we were at a basketball game). She was standing near me and one of the guys made a nice shot and i said something like Wow good shot and then we just got to talking! And now everytime she is at a sporting event working we get to talking and it is great. She is a very nice lady and i am glad i got to know her and i wouldn’t have met her if not for work.
At my part time job, I was helping one of our customers load a munch of mulch into their car. On the back of the was a bunch of numerous stickers of many states. I said to the customers, you sure have been to a lot of places. The customer said “Nope. I just like collecting stickers of the different states of our great country.” Talking with strangers can be..weird.
I’ve always been able to handle conversations with strangers. I never really practiced it by regularly striking up conversations with people. It usually happened arbitrarily. But every time i never felt like the conversation was strained, it always felt natural. I remember the day i met one of my closest friends throughout college. We were both freshmen at the time, right after a glow party they threw for us during orientation week. I saw her and her friends sitting by the benches on my way back to my dorm. I walked up to them and striked up conversation about the party we came from. We all stayed up until 4 am laughing and playing games. Since then I’ve been pretty good friends with her. We see each other every day, go to the same class, and hang out pretty much every week. It goes to show you how a conversation with a stranger could turn into a friendship that lasts years.
“So it looks like the Giants are going to take the super bowl.” I looked up from my notebook. The man who said that to me was somewhat short. He was a shadowy figure, dressed in dark clothes and didn’t seem all that there.
“The Giants didn’t even make it into the playoffs, friend,” I said as I turned back to my notes. “You may want to lay off the sauce.”
From the corner of my eye, I watched him. He was staring at me incredulously, perhaps waiting for me to say more. Eventually he gave up waiting and started ranting about football player stats and listing off names of his favorite players. Something was definitely off about this guy. Most of what he said about the sport was nonsense, and I didn’t recognize a single name he mentioned in his ravings.
Who is this guy? Is he an Outsider. I looked back up, directly at him, but he was suddenly gone. One moment I was able to see him in the corner of my eye. But as I focused on him, he vanished, along with his voice. That gave me the creeps on the spot; someone was messing with me. Without waiting another second, I turned up my collar and walked briskly down the street.
One day I was entering the gym and I saw this boy that I have never seen before. I was just there to play some basketball and I as I was putting on my shoes he comes over and says “Hey, I don’t know you but do you think I could join your basketball team?”. I was kind of shocked because I have never had anyone ask me before but I said “Yes, that is totally fine, I need more people”. He got the biggest smile on his face and said “Thank you so much”. I was so happy that he was so happy, I hope I see him at the gym more and we can become friends.
I had just got off of work and I saw this beautiful young lady sitting outside of the restaurant. I was hesitant to say hello at first but we made eye contact and I felt obligated to say hello. I greeted her with a warm smile. She asked me how my day was going and I told her I was a little tired and had just got off of work. She was very responsive and her smile couldn’t leave her face. She asked if I was working tomorrow. I nodded my head and I cannot wait till I see her again.
Well, this didn’t happen today, but it happened earlier this week. I was walking my pet husky down the canal path and I noticed a huge figure down far down around the bend. I couldn’t tell what it was but I was so perplexed that I kept walking forward until I realized that this thing had noticed me and my dog. Sure enough, it instantly came barreling after me. I turned and ran a bit in the other direction, but the massive, hulking animal got to me and my dog, now snarling in helpless owner-defense mode, in no time at all. I turned around and realized it was an absolutely towering great dane; just the biggest damn dog ever. It jumped at me, and I started panicking a bit as I fell to the ground with it. Of course, like most puppies (yeah it was a puppy) it began licking my face like crazy and wagging is tail as though I had saved its life. It was lost and I called the number on the collar. Not 2 minutes later the nicest and most appreciative lady I’ve ever met came and thanked me for helping. We didn’t live to far away from eachother, so she brought me cookies later that night. Nice person, huge dog!
So today I decided to take my boat out on the water for the first time this year and get some fishing in. As my alarm went off I checked the weather app on my phone and saw that it was 26 degrees outside. That wasnt going to stop me. As I pulled up to the boat ramp to launch my boat it was just me and one other fellow. The man looked at me and said, “How f’ing stupid are we. Fishing in 26 degree weather…us fisherman are crazy.” And boy is he right!
So ironically, today at the gym after I had just finished my improv ab workout this guy came up to me to ask me if I have seen results when doing my ab workout the way I have. I honestly said to him that I really do not have a strict work out that I stick to, instead I just do the most amount of reps I can do and do a few reps of them! He nodded in agreement and asked what exactly I did, I did my best effort to describe the method I used: like my oblique work outs, general crunches, and my medicine ball work outs. After that I went along and finished my gym time.
Before I was about to leave, he came up to me again ask if I would mind being his workout buddy. I gave him a quick run down of what I usually do and that I have a workout plan that my friend gave me if he wanted to follow it! We exchanged numbers and went on our way!
So this morning as I was leaving my town house I noticed my neighbor was leaving at the same time. She was the only neighbor that I hadn’t officially met and though I hadn’t spoken to her yet I decided to today. We exchanged pleasantries about the strange weather lately and how it was frustrating that it was such a beautiful day yet still so cold. I waved goodbye as we both got into our cars and headed our separate ways.
This week I had the pleasure of flying back home from a national Chemistry meeting. I sat between a strange couple. The woman on my left was rather chatty asking where I was from, what I was doing in Denver and then telling me about her life. She was in Denver visiting her daughter on spring break, and was now traveling back to Manassas. Her husband appeared to be truly invested in the television. He quickly swiped his card to continue watching his show but would allow me a view out the window as we passed the more exciting portions of our trip- the rockies and the pentagon.
It’s happening. That moment of sheer panic. My heart is racing, the walls are closing in, I’m feeling faint. A stranger has approached me. “Please, please, please don’t talk to me,” I silently say to myself. I look everywhere but at them in hopes that maybe they’ll just walk right past me. No luck. They’re in front of me, their mouth is moving and words are spewing out. It takes me a minute to comprehend while the waves of panic crash to shore. “Do you know where George Washington Hall is?” The panic is back.
One day back in May while on a flight from Utah to New York I meet a women and her husband. The three of us were seated next to each other for a 4 hour flight. At first I thought the women was just chatty but then we began talking. Turned out she was on the way back from seeing her grandchildren, which I saw pictures of them all. They were taking a flight to JFK (in NY) and then connecting on a flight to Africa. Her and her husband, sleeping at this time, were going for a month’s safari in Africa. Turned out this was not their first time… it was something they did often. She told me how since they were retired now, they were going to do all the things they wanted to and see the world in the process. I think that’s a great way to spend a retirement!
I enjoy talking to strangers. The reactions and comments that come from random people can be a refreshing, surprising and beautifully disgusting exposé of the diversity of life. The only problem is that it is becoming harder to strike a natural conversation with individuals. Some try to blame it on the attraction from the screens we take with us everywhere. I agree with that fact. In a way it has altered our innate tribe mentality from those around us to those we gather together on the internet. So not only is it tough to find someone not looking down at their phone, actively ignoring those around them, (I catch myself doing it too, I’m part of the problem) but when they do look up they have less of a reason to be engaged with others, ceteris paribus. The fact that there is a day specifically cut out of the year to remind us that it is okay to talk to other people should be a sign to take note of. Have a good day!
One day in September, I walked alone to get a drink from Blackstone on campus. When I was getting close to it, I had a weird feeling that I needed to walk to the Blackstone across the street. I went, ordered a chai tea latte, and worked on my homework. Across Blackstone, was a girl that I had never seen before. She was writing in a journal, and she had a Younglife Shirt on (which is the club i’m in, but hardly knew anyone in it at the time). I could tell that she was older than me and I was too nervous to go talk to her. As I was leaving, she waved hello to me, so i stopped. She introduced herself as Carolyn Byrd and we ended up talking for an hour and clicked right away. We exchanged numbers, and hung out again that week. Now she’s one of my best friends! All because I walked to the further Blackstone, and talked to a stranger.
That’s why they put me away…
I talk to the trees….
They haven’t put me away yet….
One summer day my friend and I were riding bikes around our neighborhood. We heard a distant yell “Can you help me? Help me please!” We looked down the street to see an elderly women with a trash can on top of her from her feet to her waist. We raced over and took it off her then helped her up. She thanked us and told us that we were nice boys.
My favorite thing about train rides is getting a chance to talk to someone that I might never have met otherwise. I took a train back to Virginia after spending some time in Georgia visiting a friend, and the train was sold out that day. I had a friendly older gentleman sitting next to me, and I’m glad I took the time to ask him about himself and where he was headed. He told me about his family and how he was off to go visit them. He lived in South Carolina, but most of his family was still in Richmond. He seemed amused that i was listening to cassettes on the train and asked me about my day as well. He had a full packed lunch for the trip, complete with a classic southern tomato sandwich. Chatting with him made the trip go by so much quicker, I’m glad I had the chance to talk with him.
The other day I was walking through the park with my dogs. I saw this old man sitting on one of the benches looking lonely. I decided to get my dogs a break and sat down next to him. We started talking and I asked him why he was in the park today. He told me that him and his wife went to that park everyday since she found out she was diagnosed with breast cancer. I though that is so sweet, but then I realized he was alone and she wasn’t with him anymore. I told him I was sorry for his loss, and he goes, “What loss, she just went to go get us an ice cream cone.”
“I’m asking whether you know anything about painting because I had a question about something I’m working on,” she continued. “I have to paint my friend, and I want to capture his complexion correctly, but it’s difficult because the setting is bright and clashes easily. I think I have to work with a darker base, but I’m just not sure which way to go. Could you help?”
Yesterday I ventured to the library in hopes to get some schoolwork done. I took my boyfriend with me to show him where I spent countless hours getting lost in different magical worlds as a child. I hadn’t been back there for almost 15 years and everything of course seemed to shrink. We found a table inside the childrens books enclave because that was the only place that had outlets available. As we sit down to open our respective laptops we are joined by two little blonde girls in tutus and their father. Seeing daddy daughter dates is one of the most adorable sightings, in my opinion. The older one sat and read to herself while the other picked her books up and made herself comfortable at our child-size table. She was quiet and unsuspecting at first, but then gradually began to make playful eye contact with me and my boyfriend before she built up the courage to ask me my name. Olivia’s eyes were so big and blue, her pink cheeks swell when she smiled. She then whispers to me that she can’t read these words in her book and I oblige to help her read as long as she flips the pages. We go on giggling softly and reading a couple stories before her father tells her they are leaving. We say our goodbyes and she thanks me for helping her. I can’t help but feel a smile cross my face and then radiate throughout my whole body. Getting to relive the joy of library visits and the most fearless curiosity through our encounter was simply heartwarming.
I was walking my dog around the block when an angry kid approached me. “Why are you doing that?” she asked. I looked around to see if I could tell who she was talking to. “They shouldn’t be dragged along on leashes!” the young girl shouted. I started to try to explain to her that it was illegal to walk your dog without a leash, but she cut me off- “I’m not talking to you, I’m talking to the dog!”