Day 16 of Firsts: Start a Conversation with a Complete Stranger

16 Jan

Fear makes strangers of people who would be friends. ~Shirley Maclaine

Honestly, I wasn’t sure what my “first” was going to be when I woke up today. But it’s so beautiful and spring like, I knew I was up for an adventure.

I was walking through Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia on my way to an appointment and decided today I would talk to a perfect stranger here. (My friend Loraine Ballard Morrill gave me this “first”  idea.  A good one and not easy. )

 It’s the perfect place to do it.  This is where millionaires and homeless could be sitting on the same park bench. And the truth is sometimes you’re not sure who is who.

Now I’m used to starting conversations when I’m a reporter with a photographer. But I have to say I was a little scared to do this just on my own. Just me. Just someone else I don’t know. I looked around awhile, kind of looking for someone who might want to talk. I felt nervous.

 Finally, I said hello to Jim. I said “nice day isn’t it?” He smiled real big and said “sure is”. That’s how we started. I asked if I could take this video at the end of our very sweet chat.   

“Don’t promise me forever, love me today”. Jim was quoting a poem his wife left for him after she died in October. Jim told me she died of breast cancer.

Funny, how quickly you can find common ground with a stranger who you might think from the outset is so different from you. Turns out we had quite a bit to talk about.

I told Jim I’m a breast cancer survivor. He looked at me like he didn’t believe me at first. Then he looked away from me and told me about her.

He said he was married to Tricia for 28 years. Jim says he was an investment banker and helped his wife start her own business. They traveled all over the world. He misses her. He misses her every day and I can tell he feels alone without her.

Jim asked me a couple times, what made me talk to him. I said I just woke up this morning and decided I was going to talk to someone I never talked to before. He laughed but asked again,  “why me?” I just said, ” I don’t know. I guess I liked your face, a friendly face.”

I pass through Rittenhouse Square at least once a month.  I’m going to look for my new friend next time I’m there and maybe we’ll sit and talk some more.

As I left, another gentleman said “hi camera lady“. so I took out my flip cam and talked to him.

Go Out and Find Your First!


2 Responses to “Day 16 of Firsts: Start a Conversation with a Complete Stranger”

  1. patty g January 17, 2010 at 12:43 am #

    oh wow lu ann, that’s amazing–meeting someone that has been affected by breast cancer and sharing something so personal right out of the blue. you never know, huh?

  2. Lu Ann January 17, 2010 at 12:22 pm #

    Karma, synchronicity, meant to be?
    I don’t know but glad I did it.A really good FIRST

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