Well… not ALL strangers.
I don’t like to talk to strangers at a party or other function. In a group situation, I freeze up. I’m not a joiner so groups of people who already have a connection make me feel intrusive. I also don’t do well in situations where I’m expected to carry the conversation. I can be funny and charming, but only if it is unexpected. Therefore, I like to talk to strangers… if it’s a hit and run interaction.
Today, at (it’s Monday, so say it with me) Wal-Mart, I had a great exchange with a guy. In fact, I think he was my twin. He was a very tall, very well-dressed, very dark-skinned, very gay, black man. Totally my twin, right?
Okay, so not my look-alike twin, but possibly my personality twin.
We were both in the frozen entree section checking out the Lean Cuisines. At one point we were dodging around each other to make a selection and I said, “Hey, let’s make up a new dance and call it the Lean Cuisine shuffle.” To which he replied, “I was just thinking the words Lean Cuisine Shuffle to myself!” So we laughed and then he said, “I like Lean Cuisine because they have such a large selection. Have you tried this new fish one? It’s really good.” To which I replied, “That’s my favorite!” Then we got into a very animated conversation about Lean Cuisine and other frozen convenience food. We liked all the same stuff and he was relieved to hear that Jo’s nutritionist says Lean Cuisines are a good frozen meal choice because they are “clean” (that means made with food, not chemicals). Then he looked in my cart and said, “Look, we have the same produce too.”
And we really did, from the mandarin oranges to the portobello mushrooms. From the blueberries to the red, yellow, and orange (but not green because they can be bitter) bell peppers. I had a few more things than him, but it was still eerily similar.
Then something hit me, his cart was what mine would look like if I were single. So I said, “I’ll bet you’re almost done, aren’t you?” He said he was and added that it looked like I was too. At this I shook my head sadly and said, “Nope, I’m just getting started. I have two boys and a husband to feed.” So, the spell was broken. We said our good-byes. I headed toward the dairy section where I selected four different types of milk for the four members of my family. He probably headed to the “you can’t come into this super-fun, super-exclusive area because you are a short, married, white-woman and your toddler has a snot river running directly from his nose to your shirt” section.
We passed once more in the coffee aisle. We bought the same coffee too, but his phone rang so he could only give me a smile and a wink over it.
The best part about the whole interaction for me was when his phone rang and he answered it with, “This is Jason.”