Do you find it easy to talk to strangers? And when I say talk, I’m meaning more in a casual, how’s-your-day-going chat sense rather than a deep and meaningful discussion about the-meaning-of-life-and-how-did-we-all-get-here sense. Do you find it easy to strike up a conversation with a stranger at, say, the bus stop, or when you’re waiting in line at the supermarket check-out, or browsing the new books at the library? Are you comfortable making the first comment, or do you tend to wait for others to start the ball rolling?
The reason I ask is that I had a lovely experience of this casual-chat sort of encounter the other day in the supermarket car park. My car is, to put it politely, fairly mature, and it could certainly do with a bit of spit and polish … but when a total stranger parked next to me, paused as she looked at my vehicle and back at her own much more up-to-date model, and then laughed out loud and said, “I’m glad to see that someone else’s car is dirtier than mine” … Well! What could I do but laugh along with her?? 🙂 Particularly given that her car looked to me to be almost straight off the showroom floor, whereas mine was … well, certainly not as clean as hers! I hastened to explain that living in the country, with 10kms to travel each day on a gravel road, made it very difficult if not impossible to keep it in even a semi-clean state, etc etc… I mean, I couldn’t just let her think that I was totally indifferent to the state of my car, could I? 😉 Anyway, we had a delightful chat for about five minutes on the respective merits of living in town vs the country, what a lovely day it was, and how good the weather had been over summer, and then parted company feeling all the better for our chance encounter. Superficial? Yes, on the face of it, it was. Meaningless? Definitely not! The effect on me at the time was overwhelmingly positive, and goodness knows, we could do with more positives amongst all the negatives and bad news that seems to be around these days 🙂 🙂
So, to reiterate my point: casual discourse with strangers can be an amusing, entertaining and even charming experience, leaving you with a smile on your face and a feeling of connection with others in your community, and I think we could all do with a bit more of that. I like to make a point of actually talking to the checkout operator in the supermarket, the woman behind the counter at the post office, the elderly gentleman walking his dog in the park, or the young lad who offers to fill my car at the petrol station: each and every one of them is an individual just like me, whose day just might be made a little better by a cheerful smile and an enquiry as to how their day is going. Try it sometime! I’d be interested to hear how you get on – I’m betting you just might be surprised at how good it can make you feel!
It’s A&P (Agricultural and Pastoral) Show time around Canterbury at the moment, and we have the Malvern A&P Show at Sheffield (about 20 minutes down the road from here) coming up on 23 March. I love the country shows! They’re such feel good events, and remind me of my childhood visits to the Salisbury Show many years ago, which were always looked forward to and thoroughly enjoyed, even if we weren’t allowed as many rides at Luna Park as we would have liked! Here’s a few photos from a couple of past shows, to give you the flavour of the day and to whet your appetite: there will be more photos after the 23rd, so be prepared! 🙂 🙂 🙂