I enjoy solitude, but when I’m out and about I recognize that each and every one of us has a story to tell and I am not shy about talking to people I do not know.
Before I left my Minneapolis hotel this morning, I visited with the nice lady who was the hostess at the restaurant. She was about 70, if I had to guess. We got to talking about the quilters who had been at quilt market and she remarked that the crowd included a lot of younger women this time, and it made her happy.* I hadn’t actually noticed but I realized she was right. How great is that… there are lots of young quilters!
*This non-quilter’s memory was very good, and she was a good observer of people. It’s been 3 years (I think) since quilt market was in Minneapolis. I was impressed.
On my way to the airport, I got to visiting with man who drove my taxi. He had a lovely accent and I asked where he was from. It turns out he was from Ethiopia and he has led a very interesting life. He is a Coptic Christian (this might be a relevant link), and a singer, who traveled to sing in different churches at Easter and Christmas and other holy times. His family was scattered all over the world. He has worked in the tech industry, and I think he still does. Driving a taxi was sort of a side note for him. The drive to the airport could have been longer and I would not have cared because he was an interesting person.
Not long after, I was in an airport restroom, washing my hands next to a young woman who was fixing her head scarf. I mentioned that it looked nice on her and that I’d often wondered how women keep a scarf in place so well on their head. That led to a short conversation about face shapes and how individual women use different scarf-management strategies. We each went away with a sincere smile on our face. We were people, not stereotypes.
Here’s the thing: I talk to strangers—especially ones that are different from me. Most of the time, strangers turn out not to be strange—they are just people I don’t know. Visiting with them makes me more aware of the fact that each of us has an interesting story. We are all more the same than we are different.
So the next time you are in a place with someone you don’t know, maybe on an elevator or standing in line, just say something nice. You may be very surprised at how much you enjoy visiting with someone you do not know.