Call me nosey or curious or hyper-interested, but I have a built-in curiosity about other people’s lives. It doesn’t matter if you are my friend or a stranger on the street or someone that I have frequent, minimal contact with (like my fellow GRTA commuters each day). I guess that’s why I am a Facebook addict – all the glimpses into people’s private lives and thoughts and activities: just what an insanely curious person like me needs.
I mean, when I am driving down the road and I am stopped at a stop light, I often glance at the people in the cars next to me and wonder about their lives. Where are they headed or where did they come from? Why does she look angry and he looks bored? Are they happy with their lives or are they wondering if they have missed every good opportunity in life? Why is she crying? When I see people with their earbuds in as they walk, jog, commute along, I wonder, what are they listening to? What songs are on their playlists? Do they even have playlists or do they just randomly shuffle through their songs? Are they even listening to music? Maybe they are catching up on their “reading” and listening to an audiobook.
But, I tend to take it one step further. I actually try to engage people. If the opportunity presents itself, I’ll smile, introduce myself and start a conversation. Some of these have actually turned into long relationships and friendships. Like my friend, Justina. Years ago, we found ourselves riding the MARTA train every morning at the same time. At first, it was a smile and a “Good morning” as we saw each other across the aisles. Then we started saving seats for each other so we could talk. I discovered that we were both Christians and that, even though we were of different faiths, we knew mutual people. We both share a love of travel, so we often compared travel stories and gave each other advice on where to go on vacation and where to avoid. She eventually met my mother and the friendship expanded. Neither of us rides MARTA anymore, but we still keep in touch with sporadic phone calls and emails and birthday cards. And it all started with a simple smile in the morning.
Yeah, I know. Craziness. But, what’s wrong with being interested in people and taking that first step towards a more meaningful relationship? We are all put here for a purpose and maybe if we just interacted a little more, connected on some basic human levels, we could stop all the fighting and wars and home invasions and child molestations and robberies and rapes. I mean, I am not going to harm you if I am personally invested in you – am I? I’d hope not. Just something to think about.