What is it about friendly strangers that we are so afraid of?
Over the past week or so, a woman in our neighbourhood has come to our attention. We have all met her separately, but when we compared notes we all knew that we were talking about the same person. You remember people who talk to you on the street, because most of the time people don’t.
I met her up the street. She commented on my hair and then we happened to catch the same bus. We got off at the same stop and walked in the same direction. She asked rapid fire questions and smiled a lot and gave me her phone number because she does home visit haircuts. We lingered at my front gate for a bit and then she asked if she could pick some grass from the front lawn. I had no objections. I was puzzled, but I had no objections. Apparently she feeds it to her cat. Speaking of cats, she mentioned that she had bought our cat home once. I remembered Danger telling me that a lady had knocked on the door and given our cat back.
A few days later I mentioned the incident and my boy, Mr Mundey, piped up “Oh yeah, she’s cool! I was talking to her”. This time she’d knocked at the door asking to borrow a tool. Being the agreeable fellow that he is, he went looking for the tool in the shed. Couldn’t find it. We both agreed that there was something very warm and open about her. Mr Mundey is very open minded and he likes people.
So then it’s last night. We were sitting around the table telling stories and Danger mentioned that she’d bought the cat back again. Another visit from the friendly stranger. Not long after, I was washing up and I heard voices at the door. A few seconds later and Mr Mundey brought her into our kitchen. The friendly stranger! She wanted to borrow a potato. All we had was a sweet potato, but we agreed that it’s still good for mashing, and off she went with her sweet potato.
So am I weird for even thinking that’s weird? Or do we live in a weird world? Have we become so insular that, human-to-human, we are not allowed to freely interact unless all of the social steps have been danced first?