Saturday, March 28, 2009

Talking to Strangers....

Confession: I really like talking to strangers.

Well, not all strangers but most. I don't know when it started, but I suspect it might have been the years as a Barista. The options were either having a mind-numbingly-boring shift (working at the slowest Starbucks in White Rock) or striking up conversations with random strangers. So, I usually opted for the latter.

And now, I do it without thinking. I will start talking to the person behind the till, or next to me in line, and it seems totally natural. Sometimes, strangers even come up to me and start conversations. It's almost like if you classify yourself as a person that talks to strangers, they start to approach you. At times, it can be awkward. But usually it is hilarious, and makes for fantastic stories, especially while traveling. Both Brenda and Lavonne are fantastic "stranger-talkers" so it made for some great travel stories.

But today I dropped the ball.

I was at having tea at Clancy's in White Rock, and this young guy comes up on a Motorcycle. He wanders in, takes off the helmet, and proceeds to buy some loose tea. I think that might be it, and he would just leave after that, but no, he sits down, at the table next to us, and has a cup of tea, by himself, A BIKER. And not like a scary biker, but wearing glasses, and friendly looking. I was so shocked by this obvious "strike-up-a-conversation" moment, that I couldn't do it. I totally froze. I couldn't think of any opening line that wouldn't seem like a come-on, or too cheesy, or keen. So, I said nothing. I mean, this guy even smiled when we said something funny. He wanted to talk, and I couldn't do it.

We left, sure that somehow "fate" had cheated us. Or something. The question is this...would you have started a conversation with this guy? And no, not to necessarily to flirt, but just to be nice, or would you (like me) have sat there wondering what to say, or just not said anything at all for fear of being over-keen? What would your line have been?


theRachel said...

I love the stranger talk. One of my favourite memories was when Dallas and I were almost at the first destination of our honeymoon (a timeshare condo on the Oregon coast) and he made a comment something along the lines of, "let's make friends this week." This was more in reference to this "stranger talk" that you discuss...I would completely agree with you that it makes adds so much to any traveling experience. We chatted with lots of folks during that week, and I was excited that Dallas, being more introverted that uber-extroverted me, was game to do so. My favourite "stranger talk" experience resulted in us chatting up a retired couple from Eastern Oregon who did a surprise dessert buy for us (we didn't find out until the end, after they had left, etc). Warms my heart.

Shake this one of, Sharelley, you've got still got it in you.

PS - what does Matt say about all the stranger talk?

Margaret said...

Nice readability on this post, Sharelle.

I too enjoy talking to random strangers. It's always worth it to connect with another person, even if only for a moment. Sadly, I'm often too shy to initiate such conversations.

I don't know what I would've said to that guy. Nice bike? What kind of tea did you buy? Maybe you could've told him your torch story!

Bec Shulba said...

sometimes i avoid talking to people i i wouldn't have said anything but instead would have made up an elaborate story about him with whoever i was drinking tea with.

Laura said...

I probably would have said something like "hey - I didn't know bikers drank tea."

Yeah. That would've been the line I'd have gone with...

Tyler said...

I would certainly have begun a conversation; but for me there are topics which I cannot avoid discussing: literature, religion, tea/coffee... motorcycles! And by-the-way Laura, 'bikers' can have culture (some of them are even literate).