Random Conversations With Strangers…

My friend Andrea recently commented on how random strangers are always talking to me, unprompted, sometimes even getting my attention in order to spark up conversation. I mean, I knew that happened, but for me it’s “normal”, and so I guess I really never took much note of it. I like it. But ever since Andrea said something about it I have paid closer attention to this phenomenon. It happens 2 to 10 times a day, pretty much everywhere I go.

They say “you get back what you put out”, or something like that, whoever “they” are.

I definitely make myself comfortable where ever I go. I don’t mind talking to strangers at all. As a matter of fact, I prefer connecting with anybody and everybody I come into contact with, sometimes going out of the way a little bit to make contact. It’s a fun way to live. I’ve been like this for a good portion of my life. So, maybe I just have that “he’s an approachable guy” vibe, though when I look at myself in the mirror I don’t really feel like I do. Nevertheless, people come up to me and talk, and sometimes tell me really private, weird stuff, completely out of the blue. It’s strange sometimes.

Today I was standing in the Bandaid section of Wal-Mart, looking for the perfect Bandaids for the blister on my thumb from playing tennis yesterday. There are so many Bandaids to choose from! I was a little overwhelmed. And then, all of a sudden, from my left came a gruff voice of an old lady, sounding more like a man, with an accent straight out of Deliverance, and the vocal chords of a veteran smoker, “Chiggers med’cine!”

I looked over at her to see who she was talking to, and low and behold, she was looking at me, smiling a wide and wild missing-tooth smile, pointing in the direction of some ointment on the shelf. As soon as I made eye contact she continued on as though we had been talking for hours, “Mama just always mixed bacon grease an aloe and shmeared it on us real good.” She reached down and pointed in her private area, and I had no idea what was about to come next, “Wooooooooooweeeeeee! Them boys would get them bites on their scrotums!” She moved her hand up from her “down under” area and rubbed her finger in her belly button, “And I’d get’em in my navel!”

She smiled at me, and continued to rub her belly button. I was not sure how to respond. “Wow!” Yep, that was about all I could get out; I felt a bit blindsided and not as prepared as I usually am for interactions like these. Then she remorsefully looked at the ointments and exclaimed, “Yeah, they just don’t bite like they used to though!” I was wondering why she was sad chiggers don’t bite like they used to. I thought that would be something to celebrate, though I am no chigger expert. I had very little, to no, insight into the topic and I just kind of stared at her as she continued, “You don’t hear of ’em much these days!”

Now that I could comment on! “You sure don’t. You sure don’t! This is my first time in a good long while!” She laughed like a deranged woman, and continued to look at me with a wild smile, like she was considering eating me up. I nervously smiled back, turned back to the Bandaids, grabbed the first box that caught my eyes, and said goodbye as I speed walked away. I hope she found what she was looking for. And I’m glad to have made it away without getting bitten by chiggers, or her. I love stuff like that, though.

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