Thursday, October 25, 2007

Comfortable with Strangers

I enjoy my invisibility but there are situations when people ignore the presence of others that I think odd. Five people are in an elevator, each looking anywhere but at another person. No one speaks or acknowledges another’s existence.

Out for a walk you pass a person also out for a walk. Neither says hello, hi, nice day nor gives any indication of having seen another human. Isn’t this peculiar? To walk close by someone and pretend he/she isn’t there…..

Strangely enough, I prefer invisibility in my small town but when I’m in a larger city I don’t feel the need to be invisible. In fact, I’ve had some great short conversations with complete strangers while waiting in an airport or when sitting in a service station while my car is being repaired. I call these “drive by conversations.” They are conversations with people I will not see again, will not have to befriend, meet for coffee or lunch but with whom I can enjoy for the short time we are waiting together.

Blanche Dubois, in “A Streetcar Named Desire” claimed she “depended upon the kindness of strangers.” I don’t depend on strangers, but I seem to prefer the anonymity provided by strangers over the familiarity and recognizability of the small town populace.

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