Talking to Strangers

Talking to strangersMeeting people can be tough. This great landscape of unknown, a gap of nothingness between us to fill with “small talk.”

This is a glass is half empty approach to understanding people. It’s the “I don’t know you at all so this is gonna take work” mentality.

But every person is the same. It’s easy to fill in the gaps by starting from the assumption that this blank slate in front of me IS me… just in a different outfit, and in disguise.

The intern and I had lunch today. She’s got to be about 23. She just got back from Mexico where her boyfriend proposed. At lunch she twitched her ring finger and spun the new hardware around on her slim finger.

We talked about adoption and her siblings and traveling with her boyfriend– finance — and his mom to Colombia after graduation.

All of these stories are repeated events from my life. The engagement. The girls trips. The adoption. I am not surprised, except about how much the stories revisit us with slight edits.

The conductor of the Kansas City Symphony cocked his head and listened while Lyle Lovett played. It wasn’t so much that he LOOKED just like my poet friend Keith… it was the soft gestures, the sweetness in his smile. Yes the resemblance … but more to the point… the familiarity.

Being strangers is easy. Being familiar is natural.