When I was in Sydney I scored another hug from a random stranger. I will generally go to great lengths to avoid people I know when I’m in a funk, but I seem to always end up talking to strangers, even in the deepest pits of depression, I just can’t help myself and in honesty the interaction helps me feel better.
Yes, I’m one of those chatty types who will pause to talk to homeless people rather than just throw loose change at them without making eye contact, I thank buskers for their lovely serenading and smile in solidarity at mothers struggling with a tantruming toddler. Hubby finds the habit rather annoying, but I prefer to think of it as being polite.
The universe seems to line up people with similar backgrounds to me and throw us into the same queue at the checkout, next to each other at the nail salon or the same elevator. A random comment often initiated by them will end up sparking an amazing conversation.
The other day, Mum and I were on the ferry coming back from Manly to Circular Quay and I was standing out on the deck taking a million photos of the iconic scenery, as you do when you’re on Sydney Harbour.
Another lady was doing the same, as she was by herself I offered to take a photo of her with the scenery. She politely declined and I went back to sit down next to Mum. All of a sudden she came up to me and said thank you to me for offering, she paused for a second and then explained that she was just trying to capture the rawness of the day as it was the anniversary of her brothers’ death.
I offered my condolences and got talking, she told me how her brother Michael had tragically drowned 32 years ago as a 19yr old young man, they had been very close and it was just heartbreaking. Grief never truly leaves us, its impact on our daily lives slowly lessens as time passes, but it’s always there.
She showed me some of the photos she had taken that day in his honour – he was an avid photographer. She had taken the ferry out to Manly beach, drawn his initials within a heart in the sand placing frangipani flowers inside it. A beautiful gesture by a beautiful soul. We parted ways with a hug at Circular Quay and thanked each other for the unexpected deep and meaningful.
I really do love talking to strangers, some of my best conversations have been with people I will never see again; we can be so much more raw and real with each other when there is nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Do you talk to strangers?
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