Talking to Strangers

Repost from an old blog: 2013

So, it’s hot out. I mean melt the candles, burn the soles of your feet, let’s go to the State Fair hot.

We decided to go to the mall instead, you know the one–the big one, the Mall of America. Dang right, ‘Merica’s Mall!

 

I loathe it. Okay, I don’t loathe it, what I mean to say is, I hate it. Wait, what I really mean to say is, it’s like going to the State Fair but without all the cool smells and sites. Just the crowd. And they’re not even as interesting…for instance, no one is stumbling drunk and or wearing overalls. Not one person. And there are no cows or pigs, and certainly no Miracle of Birth barn…I digress.

 

But something happened today, which made me very happy we went to the mall. I talked to a stranger. And not any stranger, a young woman/girl stranger. Okay, a teen stranger.

 

Let me explain:

After doing what we came to do, spending large quantities of dollars (for prescription spectacles) we went to lunch, and let the 14 year old choose where to go. Buffalo Wild Wings was his selection. We sat at a high top, and after a little bit, a few tables over a large group of teens came in…maybe 12 of them.

 

One girl did not look like the rest–all the rest were kind of sporty/jockish/every kid. Nothing against that AT ALL–I own one of those (except he’s exceptional)–anyway, she sort of got frozen out. All the girls were filing in on one side and all the guys were on the other. As she went to sit down, a boy broke rank and sat next to a very pretty girl on the girl’s side, the other girl (the one different from all the rest) looked a bit lost, just for a moment, then she took a seat at the end of that row.

(BTW–none of these girls was the girl–rather, the idea of the girl)

Now, here’s the important part–she was¬†so¬†different from the rest of the kids.

Her hair was blue green, cut in a cool way in the front, kind of choppy layers, and she tucked the rest of it in a black beret (!) she wore a black and grey striped long sleeved shirt–I wish I had a picture! I had to keep looking at her…because she was the most interesting person in the joint.

 

Besides me, that is. Just Kidding, she was way more interesting.

 

Another girl had finally sat across from her and they were chatting…but she still seemed outside “the group” and I wanted her to know how cool she looked to me.

 

Now, listen, I understand that when a woman (of a certain age) tells a girl she looks cool, or she likes her shirt etc. that’s like the kiss of horribleness and the offending item/style will probably never be worn again. So as we were getting ready to leave, I said to my husband and youngest, “Hey, wait, I have to tell this girl over there something.”

 

My 14 y..o said, “No. Mom, you don’t want to do that.”

And, I thought, oh, he’s probably right, she might get all embarrassed. But then I thought, young women are different from young men–girls should hear encouraging words from their *cough* *choke* *gasp* elders.

 

I stood in the aisle, hesitating, then I thought what the hell, and made my move. I walked over to her long table, walked to her open side and said:

“Maybe you’ll hate hearing this from me, but you have more style than anyone in here.”

She smiled and said, “Really?” and I said, “Absolutely.” and she said, “Thank you!”

 

And I walked away. I could feel eyes on the back of me–the rest of the table asking her questions: who was that? What did she say? I smiled.

 

I am so happy I decided to talk to a stranger. Maybe she’ll forget about it tomorrow, maybe she thought I was some crazy older woman, but maybe, maybe it made a tiny difference in her day.

 

I hope so.

 

So I’m challenging everyone to say something nice to someone you don’t know (it has to be sincere) things you think, but don’t say–try it, say it–talk nice(ly) to a stranger!