Misanthrope lite

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I don’t like small talk with people I don’t know.  I get nervous about talking to strangers and I have to really work on myself before being happy to take that leap.  Such as when I moved to the UK by myself and had to get a job and a place to live without knowing anyone in London.  Or Blogher.  It’s just a little bit crazy that in July I’m going away for the weekend by myself to hang out with a bunch of strangers (ok, they aren’t that strange, I do know some rather intimate details of their lives so I can be all like ‘hi you don’t know me but I lurrrrrve you and really I’m not creepy at all’). Anyway. I digress.

I get uncomfortable when strangers talk to me unexpectedly.  I was waiting for a friend a few weeks ago, to meet up for a lunch date, when this tiny and well-dressed old lady (who reminded me of my patneral grandmother, with her prim and proper hair-do, and a silk scarf tied around her neck) started speaking to me about Bush’s appearance in Calgary and just how much money he was going to be making from that speech and what a criminal he was.  I just had to smile and nod.  Someone else would have loved to have talked to her at length.

The point of this is that my nature is to shy away.  But this morning, something (human decency?) got the better of me.

I did my ususal walk from the train station downtown to the linked subway station.  Once I got past the ticket guys, flashing my monthly pass, I saw a guy standing still, staring into space.  I kept walking.  Then I saw the red-tipped white cane out of the corner of my eye.  He was still standing immobile, seemingly confused by where he was meant to be going.  And no one was helping him.

I kept walking.  But I got a pang of …I don’t know – action?   I should do something. I know what to do here. I do actually know how not to be completely obnoxious to someone with a sight impairment.  I’ve been educated by the agencies we fund at work.

I stopped.  I turned back.  I asked – “do you need some help?”  And yes, he was trying to figure out how to get to the train station.  I gave him some (hopefully) clear directions, I offered my arm verbally, but he didn’t want it. His independence was obvious.  He started walking, mostly in the direction I had indicated, but stumbled into a turnstile doorway.  The subway ticket guys saw what was going on, and just watched him.

I turned away, and walked on, down to the subway platform.  And felt good that for once, I had purposefully spoken to a stranger.

5 Responses to “Misanthrope lite”

  1. Cristen Says:

    I’m debating going to BlogHer as well. Problem is a breastfeeding 10 month old. I may have to drag husband and kids along (is that forbidden?). Anyway, if I go I’d love to have a buddy!

    • EWiller Says:

      That would be great – I will be seeking out friendly faces!! And there will be lots of other bf’ing mums there; they do go out of their way to support including those with babes in arms.

  2. SCM Says:

    I’m not keen on chit chat but have to for work.

  3. 1001petals Says:

    Ah, was that Union stn? You were 5 mins away from where I live, if so 🙂

    I’ve helped blind people before. How can you not?!

    Though I suck at small talk. Just cause most people, I can tell after a few mins, find me weird 😦

  4. Nyanna Says:

    AFAIC tht’as the best answer so far!

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