Within the past couple of years I have made a point of speaking to strangers. In fact, one of my daily goals is to compliment two strangers before I get into my office. That isn’t that hard to do when you work downtown and always stop for iced-tea before work.
You learn something about people and often, nearly always, bring a smile to a strangers face when you ask about them.
I also try, when in a situation with Spanish-speaking people to at least greet them and ask about them. It is amazing how they respond.
My neighbors are having a new roof put on and the workers are all Hispanic. As I was getting out of my car yesterday the supervisor was standing in the yard and I said, “Buenos Dias. Como esta?” He smiled and said hello. Then we conversed in English, but the workers were much friendlier to me when they realized I was willing to speak to them as humans and not just people putting on a roof.
To a Stranger by Walt Whitman
Passing stranger! you do not know
How longingly I look upon you,
You must be he I was seeking,
Or she I was seeking
(It comes to me as a dream)
I have somewhere surely
Lived a life of joy with you,
All is recall’d as we flit by each other,
Fluid, affectionate, chaste, matured,
You grew up with me,
Were a boy with me or a girl with me,
I ate with you and slept with you, your body has become
not yours only nor left my body mine only,
You give me the pleasure of your eyes,
face, flesh as we pass,
You take of my beard, breast, hands,
I am not to speak to you, I am to think of you
when I sit alone or wake at night, alone
I am to wait, I do not doubt I am to meet you again
I am to see to it that I do not lose you.
I do enjoy the difference of living in a part of the country where people are friendlier. Not that Chicagoans or New York-ees are rude…..they just tend to be more abrupt…and sometimes think Southerners are stupid. That’s another blog.
Every potent conversation we have with a stranger leaves us with a lingering memory.