Posts Tagged: strangers

It Was Really Lovely Meeting You

I slid into my assigned window seat and closed my eyes. Dear airplane gods, I silently prayed, please, please, please leave the middle seat empty for the next 15 hours. I was still begging the universe for this travel favor when I felt someone settle in beside me. Too bad, I thought. Then I opened my eyes on my dreamy new neighbor.

“Hey there,” he said. He had an Australian accent. His blue eyes and unkempt blond curls were coupled with the kind of three-day old scruff that makes me want to move somewhere mountainous populated by men who chop their own kindling.

“Hi,” I said.

While two flight attendants [...]


My Gift of the Magi

I’m sitting in an airplane to New York for a holiday visit to my family. Economy class. Next to me, my neighbor is dozing off, intermittently leaning ever so slightly over in her sleep toward me, then jerking herself upright and away, again and again. It’s a valiant effort. But it’s no use: she’s much too sleepy and is at the complete mercy of her drowsiness. She continues to dip sideways toward me in her sleep, her upper body sliding gently to the right in little jerky shifts, down, down … farther and farther down … down … down … almost as if pulled to my lap by invisible, warm, [...]


The Best Time Someone … Surprised Me on a Subway Platform

It happened back when I was living in Queens. I was heading to yoga, waiting for the train, and listening to music. A woman walked up to me and started speaking, and because I couldn't hear her, I removed my headphones.

Before I get to the exciting part of this story, I’d like to note that this woman looked perfectly put together. Her red lipstick was meticulously applied. Her coat was stylish and weather-appropriate. She had a tidy little bob of a haircut, and I thought she was going to ask for directions. What I’m trying to say is there were no obvious signs she was crazy.

“Do you [...]


Running Blind

Every morning, when the massive, black iron gates open, I jog past the ragged stonewalls towards the old mausoleums. I jump over tombstones and weave past undertakers. Western Queens doesn’t have a big park with old trees and ponds; what we do have is Calvary Cemetery, America’s largest graveyard. Wedged between the Brooklyn-Queens and the Long Island Expressways and carelessly dissected into four jagged parts, Calvary borders Sunnyside, Woodside, and Maspeth. With more than three million burials, it is big enough to accommodate my lifelong fears of death and dying, of seeing too much without being seen.

I am an Anxious Person. I am Anxiety. Give me a cold, and [...]


Talking to Strangers

"HOW TO PERFECT YOUR PARTY CONVERSATION SKILLS… SAY HELLO." Maybe you already know how to talk to strangers, but in case you don't, The School of Life (by way of the Daily Mail) provides a refresher. "Here's some candy," seems like a good opener, although they recommend "Who would your celebrity mum and dad be?" and "What era would you most liked to have lived in?" (For when you're past introductions.)

Not bad, but what else? This is a serious question. "What's the last illegal thing you did?" could be good. Let's help one another.


Ummm, Sir?

At what point do you have to stop inching away from the man coughing on the train — not so much coughing, actually, as cyclically huffing wet explosions — and help him obtain medical attention because he may actually be — oops, it's my stop, nevermind, good luck with your thing!


The Best Time I Woke Up 10 Miles Off the Coast of Puerto Rico on a Moving Boat Full of Strangers 

Let me begin by mentioning that, in these continuously dire economic times, I would like to offer a tip for anyone who is quivering between the decision of whether to apply to grad school or to not apply to grad school, and that tip is: APPLY TO GRAD SCHOOL IN PUERTO RICO! My  personal choice was the University of Puerto Rico – Mayaguez, but there are lots! If you do not speak Español (or even if you do), try their English Education program. Why Puerto Rico you ask?

– It’s U.S. territory so it is basically just like applying to any other accredited American university.

– It’s currently $49/credit. [...]


Amusingly Horrible Things Strangers Have Said

Strangers sometimes say amazing things, so we asked you to anonymously pass along the best you've heard, and we made it into an unseeded tournament. An impartial judge picked the "winners."

1. While I was walking to meet a friend before church, before noon, wearing a dress: “Yeahhh, walk of shame!!!”

2. I was on the subway. There was a homeless man sitting across from me who was carrying around a collapsible card table and holding a Mylar balloon. After he caught me watching him talk to his balloon he looked at me and said, "Ugly face, you an ugly face! You ain't never going to find a husband." I [...]