Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Stranger Danger, Pshaw

I talk to strangers!

Door to door sales persons,? Moms at the park? The guy returning from a beer tasting tour to Mexico? He was cool, drove a snowplow that cleans off runways at the airport (naughty shiver). Doesn't matter, if I've never met you and you have the misfortune of sitting next to me on an airplane or try selling me magazines, beware.

I love long, chatty conversations with strangers, I'll find out where they have lived, if they are married, how many children, their favorite color, long and short term goals.

I Offer advice, encouragement, meals, lemonade, starts from my flower beds, restroom visits. I even once gave some recipes to a former gang member who was brought straight from South Central LA to sell magazines in my middle class neighborhood. What? He said his life long goal, was to own a bakery.

Strangely, I rarely if ever buy what they're selling. I think a few have even forgotten why they were there after a hot meal and a long chat.

At work I feel compelled to say a cheery hello to everyone who comes into the office. It bothers me to see a printer serviceman working on the printer as office conversations go on around him. It seems so lonely. So I chat! Anyone want to buy some acreage in Idaho, I know a printer serviceman who is selling.

I'm not really picky about the type of stranger either. I love finding out that someone just got out of prison, what they were locked up for and their plans for the rest of their life or until their next parole hearing.

Old people are some of my favorites, take my across the street neighbor Oral for example, she and I are strangers every time we meet. Thanks to dementia or maybe it's Alzheimer's, every conversation is unforgettable,well for me anyway.

This morning, however, was the Holy Grail of stranger conversations. Not that I haven't spoken with this type of stranger before, it's just that this time my stranger conversation skills have developed to the point that I could ask what I really wanted to know and get answers. Yes my stranger skills are developing I fully expect to end up getting kicked out of several old folks homes for my skills with strangers.

This morning a Jehovah's Witness knocked on my door. I've always wanted to ask what the purpose of their visits are, so I asked. I've always wanted to know if they are looking for converts, so I asked. I've always wanted to know how they are received in haUt (secret code for the state I live in) so I asked. I've always wanted to know why the focus on negativity and calamity, so I asked.

Loved this conversation, loved chatting, finding out where he was from, how long he been a missionary. I managed to control my compulsion to invite him and the five or six of his companions that ended up milling about across the street waiting for us to finish chatting, in for some breakfast and more stranger talk.

So, am I just an amazing living example of, "When saw I thee a stranger...." or do I need therapy?

Don't answer that!


Kristina P. said...

YOu know, I would probably have invited them in too. Purely out of curiosity. I love learning about other religions.

Robbins said...

They knocked on my door too. Actually they rang the door bell. During nap time.

Suey said...

I wish I could be this way. But sadly, I'm totally the opposite! By the way, they knocked on my door too yesterday, a couple of nice ladies. I actually talked to them a little, but couldn't wait for them to leave. I was thinking the whole time about my own son doing similar thing in a far away state, so of course, I had to be nice!

Nonna Beach said...

I am so like you when it comes to starting up conversations with strangers...most of the time it is a great experience but I draw the line a little with some...especially those who love to argue about religion or politics...if it's a nice, calm talk, I'm o.k. with it though. I prefer debate with a good spirit, no contention.

LeShel said...

When we hike Timp together you can teach my how to talk to strangers.

Also, I'd love to hear what all the answers were to your questions.

Suz said...

My favorite "stranger encounter" you hvae shared is the "cable guy."
You are so awesome! We were strangers once, now I am just STRANGE!

Kathy @ Real Mom, Real Life said...

I love you. Seriously. You are my hero.

I love people, I love conversations, I love learning about people.


Its true.

If someone strikes a conversation with me, then I am good to go. No turning back.

But for me, I have serious stranger anxiety.

I love people like you -- even if you do need therapy ;-)

Mummy McTavish said...

I have the problem that I don't set out to find out all about the crazy person sitting next to me I just say "hi" and they jump right on it with their conspiracy theories and family history and medical conditions and such. It's kinda fun though.

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