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Talking to Strangers

To me, one of the signs of being mature is the ability to talk to strangers. I mean small talk talk going on big. When you can start a conversation - and carry it through - and have a wonderful time - and then farewell and never see each other again. And then, if you had a good time together, you take their picture and when you are home you put it on the email and send it through, and you receive a cheerful response with a thank you hug.

I have basically made it a new hobby of mine. The best people to talk to are Americans, they just love being spoken to! And they are worldy, too - they don't mind getting personal. British are the worst - they are too uptight , and their sense of personal space is very rigid - unless they are drunk. Or drinking right there, with you.

I think there is a special term for it in psychology, the concept of chronotope. Well, chronos is time, and tope is space, and it means something like when you are on a train in a car with other people in it. You are confined for the space, and you are there for the period of time, and so you talk to people. And you know that you can get frank as because you'll never see them again. So you tell them your secrets, feeling the comfort zone of the train chronotope, and then, feeling better, get off and forget all about it. Has it ever happened to you? It has to me, and it was remarkable.

I intend to get better, though. I am still somewhat of a conversational wizard, so I just need strangers to practise with. Oh bring it on!


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February 2009


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