you will find shelter here

Strangers

love me. I must look approachable or something. Maybe its because I work better in public spaces, with people around, than home alone. Cases in point:

1. Almost every time I travel, I hear, “Excuse me, but do I know you?” I promise, this is not a pick up line. Mothers do this as well as men. “You look really familiar.” Or, “You look just like my (sister, childhood friend, niece, that girl in The Dark Night and Stranger than Fiction, etc.) Thanks, strangers. I guess I have Familiar-Face Syndrome.

2. Old people love asking me questions. “Excuse me! Excuse me! Wheah is the Clematis Street library? Ah we on the right road ta get ta downtown?” Okay, maybe not all elderly South Floridians are from New York or New Jersey, but probably 89% are.

3. The other month I was sitting at Starbucks, engrossed in grading papers. When I grade papers I get really stressed, and really focused, and really annoyed if I get interrupted. Probably because I would rather be doing almost anything else, I would trade a half hour gyno exam for 7 hours of grading anytime. Well, “Susan” asked if she could sit with me at my tiny, one person table covered in papers. I quickly scanned because it was crowded, and said really half-heartedly, “sure, if you don’t mind my papers.” Susan didn’t take a hint and sat down and started chatting me up and down.

Turns out, Susan had a son that did the “Gratitude” conference. (Heard of it?) She had picked me as the one person the conference asked her interview in the two weeks she was down from New York. Susan and I ended up having a heart-to-heart, talked about Jesus, and she invited me to her horsefarm in upstate New York. Maybe one day, Susan. I do love horses.

4. Today it was so-and-so from the Palm Beach Post. I was sitting there, writing my thesis, glancing at the open Forbes magazine in front of me, clearly immersed. She sat right down and spit her name and paper out so fast I didn’t have time to catch it in the old memory bank. She asked if I thought the Society of the Four Arts should be rennovated. She didn’t pause, and then told me that rennovation would mean exposing a beautiful pitched wooden roof under the low, ugly ceiling upstairs. She got me with the rafters. I love some old, wooden beams. So of course I said it was a terrific idea. Beams?! Old wood?! I want to go to there.

I’ve heard some people say that some strangers are angels. but all that does for me is to put Newboys lyrics in my head. Or that we should treat each stranger as if they are Jesus. Hmmm. That’s awkward.

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