Friday, June 8, 2007

Strangers in our Midst

Traveling takes us to other worlds, ideas and people. Sometimes we don’t have to travel far. Today was one of those days. The last day of the working week and I was restless. In the lobby of the building where I work, I saw him playing solitaire. That’s what he does most days. But usually he is unnoticed, sitting worn and winkled behind a desk that is almost hidden in a corner of the lobby. You have to be paying attention to see him, and sadly, most of us aren’t. We’re caught up in other conversations or thinking about our lives, our problems.

He is building security. The man who makes sure that during our working day we are safe from mechanical malfunctions or unauthorized visitors. He does his job in the background and his world rarely touches ours. Today, in my bored and restless state, I began a conversation with him. And I made a discovery. We share an interest. He is a stock market buff with an enthusiasm that eclipses mine. His knowledge of historic facts and his ability to link them to future possibilities was a totally unexpected delight. Who knew that a simple question about what was news in the local newspaper would lead to a discussion on finances?

When was the last time you had a conversation with a stranger?

Safe travels


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