Yeah, yeah, yeah, don’t talk to strangers. I heard it from my parents when I was a kid. Later on I heard it from Petey and The Kid (Don’t they sound like a buddy cop movie, though? Maybe played by Bob Newhart and Tim Curry). And I still get it when I’m out—pretty much every time.
But I pay them no mind.
Costco came to our town when The Kid was in elementary school. The folks there, are to a person, kind and cordial.
Shopping there I quickly became familiar, then friendly with the staff. Since turnover is low, many of the people that worked there on opening day are still there. And my child adores each and every employee in the place. Each visit with The Kid is a series of heys and hugs with numerous adopted aunts and uncles.
A quick run for one or two items never takes less than 30 minutes. But all of those beloved folks were at one time, complete strangers. And one should never speak to scary, scary strangers.
Our last dog, Riker, was 200-pounds of pure friendliness. Everyone within a two-mile radius loved him and looked forward to him stopping by. He was a celebrity, way more popular than anyone else in our family.
Every policeman, sheriff, school bus driver, mailman, and UPS guy that comes to our neighborhood has selfies with him.
His last illness lasted months, with him getting weaker every day. Petey and I would put a blanket sling under his belly, and gently carry him outside to lie in the sunshine. There was a steady stream of human and canine friends coming by to tell their sweet friend goodbye. When I broke the news of his passing, almost every person cried. His sweet friendly demeaner endeared him to all those “strangers”.
Every once in a while, my amiable ways can cause things to go a little sideways.One afternoon my mom, a toddler-aged Kid, and I were walking through the parking lot of a local mall to get the car and go home. Two teenaged guys were working on a car with the hood open. Having driven my share of less than reliable autos, I felt for them.
Having driven my share of less than reliable autos, I also keep jumper cables in the car. I asked the young men if they needed a jump, and could I help?
They hadn’t noticed us walking up, so were so startled one of them bumped his head on the hood. They quickly turned down my offer and walked away.Turns out the pair were attempting some grand theft auto. My helpful gesture was unappreciated by them, but the rightful owner was pretty grateful for my meddling/helpfulness.
Growing up with a parent in the Coast Guard, our family moved every few years. We’d land in a completely new city, not knowing a soul.
Once we had unpacked and had some downtime, I would walk around our new neighborhood and reconnoiter. I’d talk to anybody I saw that was approximately my age. It’s how I met almost all my friends. My little brother was a little quiet, so when he was about five or so, I started trolling for kids for him, too.That’s how I met the Murphy’s. Through them, I met Petey. So, if I’d stayed home being a good girl, I would never have met the man who was destined (cursed?) to become my spouse, and then there would be no Kid.
Thanks for your time.
One thought on “In Defense of Friendliness”
Totally enjoyed this column! There are alot of good people in this world hungry for a smile and friendly coversation!