I don’t normally start random conversations with random strangers- probably part of the whole introvert thing. There are also times I truly relish being by myself- I really need alone time to keep all the parts going.

One place I love to go alone is the movies. While I most definitely see movies with friends and family, there is something I love about sneaking off to a matinee. Once a month I even treat myself to the childrens pack, which is a very small popcorn, small drink and a package of gummy fruit snacks. It’s kind of heaven for me…

So a few weeks ago I was at one of my matinees. It was a wet, dreary day, and I had about a billion things on my mind, so this was a much needed bit of self care. I got my empty cup, my unbuttered popcorn and headed to the drink station.

My local AMC has one of those drink machines where you can literally get any of at least 100 beverage choices. I am a no caffeine, diet cherry coke person, which is what I was pouring myself from the dispenser. As I was putting the lid on, a woman asked if I could help her with the drink machine.

I said sure, took her cup and asked what she wanted. As I was pouring her straight up coke no flavor, full caffeine, full sugar drink, she said to me.

“I didn’t know you needed a degree in astrophysics to get a drink”

to which I smiled and said

“Ah- this is drink gathering 2022”

or something along that ilk. I handed her the drink, she didn’t say thank you, and I walked to the buttery artificial topping station.

The woman, without popcorn, followed me. As I decorated my popcorn she said:

“I guess I needed to be with Neil Degrasse Tyson to appreciate my joke” When I didn’t respond, she repeated it.

Part of me wanted to say that it wouldn’t be astrophysics that would require one to work the soda maching…maybe a masters in engineering, but I really wanted to just get to my movie. My worst fear was that she was going to follow me to my movie and proceed to tell me jokes throughout…And yeah…she scared me just a little tiny bit.

Who follows someone to heckle them about not laughing at a joke, in the lobby of the AMC…

So there’s my anecdote/not much of a story…

Have you ever had an odd encounter with a stranger?

52 thoughts on “Anything Can Happen Fridays: Small Talk

  1. I agree with Laura- how do you not have more odd conversations living in NY? I realize that’s rather stereotypical but even our local Starbucks in this tiny town (and considered a place for many on “the fringe”) is fairly low key regarding stranger conversations. I am not against a brief convo with a stranger and do it quite often actually.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I admit I wear my earbuds to avoid conversation. You found me out….my daughter says I have a face that stops most people from talking to me…😆but this is the most memorable exchange in awhile. I do overhear a lot though…

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Yes, of course. I have come to the conclusion that there are a lot of odd people in the world and I’m surprised we don’t run into them more often.. I realized the other day that most people are so caught up in themselves that they don’t seem to notice anyone else. So the fact that you helped this women was an act of kindness. She probably was caught of guard and wanted to latch onto you forever lol. Thank goodness she didn’t follow you inside. I might have excused myself and run to the restroom to shake her off if she did. Lol.

    I came to that conclusion on Wednesday of this week when I went into my oncologist’s waiting room, after Checking in and speaking to the ladies behind the desk. On my way to the section to sit down and find an available seat, I said “Hello Ladies.” Two women smiled at me warmly. The rest ignored me. I found that unusual. I do understand that that were likely scared of whatever news they might hear when they finally got to the other side of the door… the side where they’d see the doctors. but I’m old hat at this now. And in the section of the office beyond the door that is the infusion room, everyone instantly becomes bff’s. They are all hooked up toIv’s and are in various stages of chemo. So I’ve had time to study the behavior of people in an oncologist’s center/office. Inside those doors is a love fest. Love, warmth, reassurance, kindness. And often sad news. Outside those doors is apprehension, fear, stress etc. people behave uniquely differently.
    I’m chatty when I’m nervous. It helps me calm down. I’m also a people watcher and I imagine stories in my head about those around me. The last time I had to sit and wait in there were two identical twin sisters. They were either in their late 60’s or early 70’s. I sat down and I said hello. The one who looked frail had a Walker with her asked me if I had been to this doctor before. Before I could answer her twin jumped in… “My sister is here for her post op visit. Which doctor are you seeing?” I explained that I was just waiting for bloodwork because I was getting an infusion later in the week. And I looked more closely at the twin with the Walker who appeared terrified. I reassured her how excellent the doctors were and that she would be getting the best of care. Suddenly they both became chatty. The sick twin ‘s face perked up and she breathed a sigh of relief. Her comment surprised me. She blurted out, “ You have fabulous hair.” I think I’m going to lose mine did you lose yours? “
    I thanked her for the compliment, told her that I did lose it and it came back gray and wavy rather than straigh and thicker than ever. That there was an upside to chemo. Her hair would return with a new vibrancy. She was adorable and clapped her hands! Then she was called back. She got teary eyed while getting up and thanked me, looking much more confident as her sister helped her mosey on to “the other side” . Sometimes a little help from a stranger means a lot.

    You did a good deed, LA. Even if you didn’t laugh at that lady’s joke. She’s probably been saving it for a long time.

    And BTW, next week I begin a new regiment of intense chemo. A very strong type I haven’t had before. I’m certainly scared and I hope i have someone as kind as you to help me if I need it. I know I will be chatty, but I sure won’t use any any Neil Degrasse Tyson jokes. 😉 I think everyone is a bit weird. Lol

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Lesley, I too will be thinking of you. I have observed that “love fest” as you so accurately described it first hand w/ my sister who is currently doing the post chemo- infusions. All of us siblings went the day my sister rang the bell, indicating she was done w/ her treatment. That love and affirmation was strong in that room…. your story of those twin sisters touches me. DM

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you DM. I hope your sister is doing well. It’s an extraordinary experience. The kindness and caring of the medical people in my oncologist’s office and the patients going thru treatment is amazing. I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2019. This is my third time going back in treatment because my kind of cancer is treatable but not yet curable. I’ve never seen such strength and dignity.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Okay, one time I was at the movies, it was one of those theaters with lounge chairs and a wine bar. My movie was about to start and there was at least four ladies trying to get togo wine before the movie started. The bar tender was sweating! He asked us all what we wanted and shockingly it was all the same. One lady asked him to pour the drinks and she would stay and pay. He did, we ran, but I dropped her a twenty to help with the bill. She was adorable. So sometimes we meet good one. Hugs, C

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You did a kindness to someone who needed it. It’s telling that she didn’t say thank you, and was more concerned about you not getting her joke. But, we don’t know her back story so we’ll just leave it as a weird encounter. I’m very happy I live in a “flyover” state in the Midwest! We’ll talk with anyone and everyone!! 😆

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Lisa, I smiled reading your comment. I too live in one of the flyover states in the Midwest and, we too will talk w/ anyone, I know I do. I love the excitement of the banter. Happened just a week ago @ the gas station. Got into quite a robust conversation w/ the guy @ the next pump. Felt like I was playing a hard and fast game of tennis. He was quick witted. Loved it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. “Who follows someone to heckle them about not laughing at a joke, in the lobby of the AMC…” That made me laugh out loud! Weird people are everywhere hey, myself included? Who knows her context- my Mum lived alone for a long time so was often quite desperate for a conversation/interaction with anyone… but I am glad she didn’t follow you into your introverted treat matinee 🙂 x


  6. As I mentioned in an earlier comment, not too long ago, I had a great conversation @ the gas pump. In the back of my mind I had a story by the author Robert Fulghum on this whole topic of random conversations w/ strangers. He likens the banter to being a “player’ (not in a suggestive sense, rather, when to strangers are comfortable bantering back and forth, with an undercurrent of mirth. I confess, I love the energy that comes with those conversations. Now if the other person is a little creepy (as your person sounds like) that is a whole different story.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Ikr? Trying to organise our Mum’s funeral and hearing about the bed bugs she picked up in Washington, or the latest read in her book club. She followed us out to the car and told us what she thought of one of her neighbours (with accompanying rude hand gestures!). We laughed all the way through 😂😂😂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. That is an odd encounter, but the lady may have either had a “different” sense of humor or just needed someone to talk to. I can understand it making you feel uncomfortable when you were seeking some space and diversion alone. Hopefully, that was a one-off and you can enjoy your special time alone next time without hassle.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is where introverts get a bad rap. It’s emotionally draining for me to make small talk with someone I don’t know. It seems like I’m out there with my blog, but really, hitting publish every day is terrifying…I hate people thinking it’s because I’m not friendly or don’t like people. To those who are extroverts they think we are making a big deal out of nothing. But these encounters are really hard

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I had one very recently, in the predawn hours, crossing a bridge in the small town of Fort Atkinson. The guy started out talking about Captain Kirk and somehow that turned into a religious spiel. Needless to say, I hightailed it out of there as quickly as my legs could carry me.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. As a fellow introvert, I get it. If I can avoid conversations with random people, I will. Not that I’m choosing to be rude…but it’s just much harder for me to carry on a dialog with someone I don’t know. And then if weirdness gets added into the mix, oh, that’s when I definitely get out of dodge.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. There are more than a few odd ducks out there. LOL!
    I don’t mind talking to strangers but to follow them and comment on them not laughing at my joke, I can’t imagine doing that!
    What would you have done if she sat beside you in the theater? Would you have moved? Just curious, and glad that she didn’t. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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