on strangers

Would it surprise you to know that my brother and I used to freak our parents out on a fairly regular basis? (Don’t all children do this?)

 We weren’t putting things in our noses, getting seriously injured all that often, or eating dirt. No that wasn’t our style for the most part. We had a slightly different way of making our parents very nervous.

We were friendly outgoing kids.

When he and I were little, we would talk to almost anyone. (We get this from our father who talks to everyone.)  There were really no strangers in our books, just friends we hadn’t made yet.

It made our parents nervous to say the least. I guess Stranger Danger wasn’t something we learned all that well. Don’t get me wrong, if we didn’t want to talk to someone or be picked up, we were fully ready to make our preferences known, but it wasn’t often that we did.

Something those of us who don’t know us should know, we come from a small town (1,200 people, 3,000 cows) where everyone knew everyone. We spent much of our free time in a small city where we’re related – by blood, marriage, or chance – to roughly 1/3 of the city when school isn’t in session and roughly 1/4 of the city when it is. (Those are estimated figures and probably grossly exaggerated, but it sure felt like it was true)

The issue wasn’t that we were talking to people we knew other than the fact that we both can be chatterboxes, the problem was that we’d talk to anyone we met in Boston, NYC, Florida, wherever. Maybe because we did just about literally know almost everyone we didn’t understand the idea of “stranger” all that well.

 (We’re no worse for wear because of it.)

If you know either one of us, you’ll find this still to be true today. We will talk to anyone and everyone. (Unless they make us uneasy for some reason.)

The cashier at the store needs a smile? Done.
See someone looking lost in a store I frequent? Help them out.
Cutie at a coffee shop looking a little glum? Wink and say, “Have a great day!”
See someone at a meeting with a pair of rockin’ red pumps?  Yes, I complimented her too and asked where she found them.

I think I would still like to believe that there are no strangers in life…just people I haven’t met yet.

If I may ask: Who’s the best stranger you ever spoke to? The worst? Do they have a role in your life? Also, if you’re reading this? Please say hello and don’t be a stranger.

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