Thursday 13 December 2012

Thought Picnic: Chance encounters of relative closeness

A seat beside someone
What can one do about chance encounters that lead to interesting conversation with strangers than just engage?
I got on the train to Upminster this evening and it was quite busy that I wondered about whom to bump off the priority seats for the less able that includes a graphic of someone with a cane - I use a cane.
Just then, I saw a spare window seat that was difficult to get to because this lady had taken up the aisle seat and was busy sorting out her bags.
Birthdays and mothers
I asked and she allowed me to squeeze through leading me to suggest I needed to get the resolution of keeping trim the next year on an urgent list. She simply said I had nothing to worry about, I guess I have heard that as many times as a compliment as I have added the pounds too.
She was busy fidgeting with a birthday card to a daughter, I enquired if it was hers, but it was for her sister's 50th birthday, she had bought the card on behalf of her mother who I learnt was 83 and was too frail to go shopping but aware enough to ask for a card for her daughter.
Before we knew it
Then started a conversation that covered when I was born, where she lived, the cost of transport, my comparing that cost with transport fares in Amsterdam, her visit to Amsterdam over 12 years ago along with the good and naughty things she did, we could have known each other for years.
As the conversation drew to an end, I found that her sister shared the same birthday as mine - so uncanny - a stranger, the coincidence of seating, the spontaneity of conversation and a convergence of lives - none of which would have happened if we had not dared to talk rather than mind our own businesses ignoring each other after our somewhat stressful days.
Get engaged
In fact, I learnt much more about her as she did of me than I relay here but the moral of the story is the amazing goodness of life when we interact such the stranger is not so strange but just separated from you by a few degrees and when you find out and thinking about it afterwards, you have to agree that life is full of surprises if you are willing to be adventurous and be surprised too.
In parting, I sent my birthday wishes to my stranger friend's sister and I received good wishes too.

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