Friday, December 4, 2009

The Girl with the Red Pea Coat

"Sometimes it's a form of love just to talk to somebody that you have nothing in common with and still be fascinated by their presence." -David Byrne

Note: I totally wish I had thought of that quote. What a great thing to say.

People fascinate me. Well... okay. Some people fascinate me. Some people I cannot understand and honestly do not want to, but a lot of people have something really interesting about themselves. The other day I was at Whole Foods to pick up something for lunch. For the record, the Whole Foods near where I work isn't as bad as some Whole Foods in the rest of the country. (There are hippies who work there, but the area is mostly wealthy corporate men and their stay-at-home wives so it doesn't smell and I've never seen anyone there with dreads. Oh, and also, I don't live near where I work.)

Anyway, I was waiting in line at the Whole Foods deli to get something for lunch and the girl in front of me caught my attention. She was petite and thin, with very short dark hair styled in a black, plastic headband. She had about 8 piercings on her ears, skinny jeans, flats, and a pretty red pea coat. I guess I just noticed her because I was standing there waiting, but I don't know. I was strangely drawn to her. She got her food and left and I placed my order.

I had already forgotten about her by the time I got to the checkout. But as I was getting in my car, I looked up and saw her walking by. She had her deli meal in her hands in front of her, and on top, she had balanced a slice of white cake with white icing and a pastel icing flower. Why did she have that cake? Was she taking it to someone else? Was it her birthday and she had no one with whom to celebrate so she was buying it for herself? Was it a reward for some goal she'd achieved? Maybe she just likes cake? I'm guessing I have little in common with this twenty-something, artsy girl with the cake, but I really wanted to know her story. I really like to learn other people's stories.

Sometimes it seems someone has such a similar story as yours that you are bound to be friends. Then, for whatever reason, you just don't click. There are other people who, as much as they seem nothing like you on the surface, you listen to them and find that you have so much more in common that you could have possibly imagined. I guess that is part of why I love the Byrne quote so much. Learning the story of someone else doesn't make you immediate best friends or even mean you will ever talk to them again. Yet, learning their story does add just a little something to your own experience that wasn't there before. So I guess this is just a reminder to myself. I need to not be so busy and focused on my own life that I forget to listen to what other people have to talk about. I might find something fascinating that enriches my life more than I'd ever expected.

1 comment:

  1. This story reminds me of a man I met on a New York subway during our vacation last year. Seriously - I was mesmerized by a homeless man. I was by myself (Sean let me go shopping alone one day) I and didn't know what train to get on, and this man was the only person who helped me. While most of the other people seemed scared of, or annoyed by this man's presence, I was actually drawn to him. We had to stand right next to each other on the subway, holding the same pole, because the train was so full. I remember that he stunk really bad and he was breathing right on me, but he had the most beautiful blue eyes and amazing life stories. We talked for a good 8-10 minutes before he had to get off the train. I still had one more stop to go and I remember sitting there by myself and crying as Joe walked off. And every so often, I still think of and pray for him - wondering if he might have been an angel in disguise. :)