Sunday, December 7, 2008
On Meeting Strangers...
I was just reading another blog I frequent (Cage Free Family) about this family from Austin who has given up pretty much everything to live and travel with their two children and two dogs in an RV, while searching for peace, adventure, and organic foods along the way. It's a pretty amazing concept, and one I fantasize about, but know that my materialistic desires could never succeed in accomplishing.
Anyhow, the author spoke of meeting strangers and how she tries to do it every single day. I am this way. My father is this way. I meet people in grocery store lines or post offices and I can strike up a conversation in just about any setting. I half joke that if you put me in front of a wall I could have a conversation with it. My other half thinks this is a bizarre and somewhat annoying habit. It is one of many ways we are quite different from one another, though he does give in and participate in my fun when we are visiting foreign countries. (When in Rome, eh?)
When reading Cage Free Family's recent post, I realized I'd not yet shared the story of our adventure in Arizona where we met four amazing women who were probably in their late 50s to 60s at a winery. While we were tasting, the person working the wine room jokingly said that if we were looking for some fun people to hang out with the four women on the other side of the room were a hoot. We later went over to where they sat for a brief photo opportunity that lead into an evening of hilarity and honesty with some really beautiful women. After we took pictures of each other in various wine-drinking poses, one of the women announced that she was going to perform a song for us. So out of no where, she begins to sing this fabulous Broadway-esque tune for us. My friend, R, just had to chime in about my love for singing and I was soon 'talked into' a song of my own. (Note: I do not do private performances! I am much less intimidated by a crowd of people and bright lights shining in my face than I am of singing for only a few who have their eyes glued. right. on. me. AGH!)
We followed them to the next winery where we laughed and told stories; took more photos, and drank more wine. The ladies had plans to meet their husbands for dinner and take in a local show. They suggested a restaurant for us to try and told us to come back to where they were eating afterward for karaoke. After a failed attempt to get into the restaurant, we ended up back at their place where they'd saved us two spots just in case. More giggling ensued and then a turning point in the conversation. Somehow I mentioned that R and I had become friends because our sons were in the same preschool for children with special needs. The woman who'd sung the song at the winery was in shock, and admitted sheepishly that earlier she'd been watching us thinking how carefree, young and happy we were. It was a reminder to all of us that so often things aren't *quite* as they seem. We all have stories. We all have burdens to bear. And sometimes we all need a little time to be a bit like our old selves and kick up our heels for a moment or two. That is what this trip did for me, and I am grateful.
To make a long story longer, we ended up going back to the home of one the women. They'd missed their play and we were all having too good a time to care. We drank wine, then coffee. We took silly pictures in front of their fireplace. I was talked into singing another song. We talked about serious stuff. We talked about not-so-serious stuff. We looked at family photos. We exchanged email addresses and made promises to keep in touch. It was like hanging out with family that you actually liked. It was lovely, and I'm so glad we did it.
When telling the other half about our adventure his response was, 'I can pretty much guarantee I would never do something like that.'
'I know,' I said. 'We talked about that tonight!'
Take chances. Talk to new people. Life is too short not to.