Saturday, June 18, 2011

Talking with strangers

For me, one of life's greatest pleasures is talking with strangers: making a connection.

As a child I was a dreamer and very shy. I can't remember a turning point, so perhaps my transition was gradual. When I did discover the joy of meeting people, however, I lost no time.

Of course there are risks as not everyone is as we would have them be. On the whole though, most people are honest and have a point of view worth listening to. Doctor's waiting rooms, buses, trains, airports and shopping queues -- all these offer opportunities to speak with strangers, offer words of praise or encouragement, or simply give a friendly smile to lighten someone's day.

No matter who you talk to or where, it's common to find connections. For instance, if I mention the fact that we lived and raised sheep on King Island in the 1980s, nearly everyone knows someone who either lived on or visited the island.

Whenever we feel like meeting people from 'away', we go to the spa for coffee and conversation. Doug enjoys these encounters too, so this is a shared pleasure.

Every afternoon I take Major for a walk along the river to the bridge and caravan park, and nearly always I meet a local or traveller-- sometimes from overseas, mostly interstate.

It's well-known that if you are walking a dog you are seven times more likely to talk to people than if you're walking alone. Major is a good ambassador of his breed, behaves well with people of all ages, and waits patiently when a conversation evolves.

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