encounters of a stranger kind…

April 24, 2007

i love encounters with strangers…maybe it’s that i was never taught the proper stranger danger as a kid or that my mother was constantly engaging strangers my entire childhood. grocery store clerks, cab drivers, people waiting in line at the post office, my mother could have your life story in 3 minutes flat. there is something about her face that invites your story.

i am exhilarated by the fact for just a moment you are connecting with no knowledge of the past or the future. these are often the purest moments in life. this week the universe graced me with the youth of the city. it left me laughing and feeling hopeful…

a young (maybe 16) african american kid knocked on my door. he was selling/scamming magazine subscriptions for “points”. we banter and match witty remarks for a few minutes before we get down to business. he was slick, so slick and smart, i barely stood a chance.

me: okay, so is there anyway i can support you BESIDES buying a magazine?

him: buy a magazine for a friend! it’s more than paper and print ms. patience, it’s my future…

me: yeah, so i gotta question. do you wanna sell magazines forever, i mean, do you want to move up in this “corporation”?

him: oh no ma’am, i wanna be an actor.

me: so what are you doing to make that happen?

him: awww…i don’t know, i’m just hopini’m gonna knock on somebody’s door that’s important ya know?

me: yeah, they are gonna see how smooth you are and give you an opportunity right?

him: yeah! exactly!

me: huh, okay….so i’m not gonna buy a magazine but i got somethin‘ better for you. hold on…

him: hey, you gotta a beer in there? just kidding, how about a water.

me: no problem

i run inside and grab a paper and pen and scribble down the information for this. why i am still promoting this movie i do not know. it’s like a mother who loves you even if you treat her badly. (or poorly for that matter)

me: okay d*****, do you have access to the internet?

him: uhhh…yeah.

me: write these guys and tell them you want to read for the lead role.

him: what?

me: it’s a small movie about race relations in the south.

him: it’s a racist movie?

me: (laughing) no, it’s a movie about how white people and black people interact. it’s gonna be good man.

he takes the paper, smiles and walks away. he looked a little disappointed in the lack of a sale and surprised that an unimportant white housewife bears a gift of scratch paper with the hope of possibilities. even if it is a small one…

and then there was this little gem of a stranger exchange…

i was unloading groceries today when i saw a teenage girl in a school uniform walking on the sidewalk towards me. i figured she goes to the catholic girl’s school nearby and was walking home.

her: excuse me, do you happen to have any romaine lettuce in your fridge i can buy for $5?
(i kid you not, actually happened)
me: mmm, let me check.
will baby romaine work?
her: oh yeah, here (she starts to pull money out of the pocket of her button down shirt.)
me: yeah, i’m not taking your money. just the fact that you even asked makes you my kind of girl…have a great day.

i wish i had asked what she needed it for. i couldn’t even make this stuff up it’s so good…

may your week be full of unexpected enocounters with interesting strangers.

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