A Strange Conversation with a Stranger

Thursday, September 20th, 2012|Advice, Elexu Team Posts, Guest posts|by Sam Watson

Today’s post comes from Sam who tells us his strange conversation with a stranger on the train and about how sometimes we should talk to strangers.

Tragedy had stuck! My phone had run out of battery and the train hadn’t even departed from Waterloo. I was about to endure 45 minutes of painful silence and not having unlimited information at my figure tips, however fate had another plan when “Paul” stepped onto the carriage.  After a few stops on the busy train Paul ended up sitting next to me and straight away started up a conversation about how people don’t talk to each other even though this train is full of people no conversation were happening. In my lack of headphone state I replied which gave him the go ahead that I wasn’t scared of a stranger trying to talk to me which most people give the vibe of when talked to by a random.

During the conversation he asked what I did and I in turn asked what he did, he laughed a nervous laugh like he was having a internal battle and he said “do you know what I will tell you”, he leaned in and whispered in my ear “I provide protection for women of the night” (if you dont know what this means please stop reading). In my astonishment all I could mange was “does it pay well?” and apparently it does and also he would never touch those girls with a 50 foot poll (good to know, this whole convo was a curveball). I also found out that the reason his arm was bandaged was because he had to deal with a punter who had brought a baseball bat into the room and started getting rowdy with one of the girls..you can guess what happened. Paul also told me that last week he was bitten by a giant pig (I saw the teeth marks and a picture of the pig), this guy wasn’t very lucky to be honest.  Before my stop I also received advice to visit Thailand, I had to promise him I would go to a club called the “couch and condoms”,  received encouragement to become a full psychologist, a story about how he made a fool of himself at a Muay Thai fight and saw a picture of his girlfriend back in the Isle of white. He was a colourful character and honestly made my train ride home.

This got me thinking people really don’t talk to people anymore. Can you imagine if you had a chat with the person sitting next to you every time you went home, you would most likely here some fascinating stories. Also when we do talk is not even a real conversation it’s normally about that crazy guy on some reality show, pop politics or about the contents of hello magazine. Most of the time  half way through the person supposedly listening will get out their phone, we have all these communication device’s but we don’t properly communicate. Maybe we should sometimes voluntariliy turn off the electronic device in out hands so we are not distracted from what non screen world has to offer.

My recommendation is every now and then spark a conversation with a stranger, take a risk, choose a topic that isn’t superficial, tell a personal story because you can tell a stranger almost anything (anonymity is a powerful thing) and don’t shut out the world by looking at your phone because you don’t know what you might learn and what stories you might hear. A stranger might make your train ride home too.