Monday, August 2, 2010

Talking to Strangers

Yes, I’m that guy…

I’ve often thought about how much fun it would be to live in a small town. To be a part of a community where everyone knows my name, where I can walk into Dunkin Donuts and people are happy to make small talk with me, where I could coach the high school team for 30 years and get my picture up on the wall at Applebees.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this past week, while I was in a coffee shop near our new house, I overheard some people talking about Saratoga and had to jump in. As a proud former Upstate New Yorker, I couldn’t help but join in the conversation to share my favorite place to eat in Saratoga, Bruno’s. When I walked out of the coffee shop, I had a big smile on my face and thought to myself, I love this.

Later that night, when I told Samantha what had happened earlier in the day, she wasn’t very surprised. Especially since I have a habit of making an off hand comment to people in line to pay at CVS, asking a waiter their advice on an entrée, or talking with someone that I find out is from anyplace I’ve spent time. At times like these, Samantha just rolls her eyes, but I think it’s nice.

To be honest, I’m not sure when I started doing this with strangers, because I generally define myself as a shy person. Maybe, I’m just making up for lost time or being a teacher has brought this side out of me. Truthfully, I think it must just be that I like feeling connected to people- whether it’s my family, friends, colleagues, students, or now random strangers.

So, while it’s strange to leave the area that I lived in for the past 9 years, I’m excited to be a permanent part of the community. Maybe I’ll run into the same people. Better yet, next time I may introduce myself and then it won’t be a stranger I’m talking to anymore, just a neighbor. And maybe some day in the future, I'll walk into a local diner and the waitress will ask me if I want my regular.

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