Talking to strangers
I’ll be the first to admit I have a Hallmark Movie problem. I can’t help it. I don’t like surprises and they have perfected a Marissa approved movie format that I just can’t get enough of. I love the clichés. I love that romance is always the answer and most of all I love that there will be a happy ending. Recently, as I embarked on my third consecutive film, I was chuckling to myself at an overtly cheesy scene where a complete stranger spews incessant unsolicited inspirational anecdotes on the main character, which then propels her along the remaining plotline of the movie. I laughed at the idea that such a peripheral character would approach another and impact that person so profoundly. Or at least as profoundly as Hallmark can accommodate.
That’s when I was struck by the memory of a woman I met when I was traveling this past spring. I was in a very bad place in life. In technical terms I was “completely freaking out”. It was ‘crying on the subway on the regular’ bad and I knew I needed to take action. After I hung up from a call with my dad, during which he alluded to the fact that I should avoid sharp objects, I took up conversation with a woman to my right at the bar. She too was at a crossroads, haven taken a new job and was uncertain about the risks. We only spoke briefly, but both shared our fears and it felt surprisingly natural. Despite the fact that I credit this mostly to the desperation we both felt, I remember feeling a little bit better after our chat.
I boarded my flight home and fortunately everything all worked out. I made some changes and was able to shift gears in a way that has allowed me the ability to survive a subway ride without tears. That moment in the airport wasn’t the most pivotal by any means. There were many more compelling conversations, but I do think it was an important one. Misery loves company I suppose, but more than that it was comforting to feel a little more connected to a seemingly random universe. It was nice to be reassured by someone who wasn’t actually obligated to support me. Not that I don’t love that reassurance as well, I will take as much support as the world is willing to lend my way. Anyway, the point is that is why I will continue to interrupt and annoy perfectly innocent strangers in airports. Fin.
Great blog. Airports are great places to find random kindnesses.