It was silent winter evening. I have just left the gym in the midtown – calm, relaxed and cheerful after good sweat at the classes. I still had in my mind commands from the trainer and heard his black humour encouraging words while he was looking at bunch of girls jumping up and down on the steps. Full of good thoughts I went out on the street... and saw papers flying all around.
First I thought, poor person – seems like they lost a book, notes, report, summary, speech...
Second thought was, what is that – maybe I can read it?
Then I saw a gentleman with a briefcase (I thought a professor of a nearby university) trying to catch them, so I thought, in a flush of compassion, let me help him. I started picking up the papers what, in spite of someone’s problem, was quite a good fun. Like a little game on the streets of London – „chasing papers on a dark and windy evening” – someone wants to take part? After I collected few papers, another person joined in and another, so finally we formed quite a strong team and we managed to collect all of them! As I was handing my pile to the owner, (who turned out to be not the gentleman with a briefcase I saw at first) a bit chubby young man (as for me his student), I saw the last one stacked to the railings, so I gently pointed in its direction, letting the owner have the last word(s).
Feeling a bit ashamed he said thank you and went off. I didn’t even have time to ask what was the content of the papers. Though I am guessing it was an academic book he has just copied to study for an exam. Poor thing. And later I saw him running to the bus... phew... he got it. But definitely it wasn’t the best evening of his life.
As much as the story itself felt intriguing, the fact that bothered me the most was that I didn’t get a chance to talk to him. If I could I would ask him what happenned, what was the content of the pages, is the exam going to be tough, what does he study, does he loose the papers on the street very often. Maybe we would become friends, or go for coffee, or I could invite him for Alpha... Worst case scenario, I would just get to know another stranger, have a chat and broaden my horizons. Anyway, something would happen. And that’s the whole point.
If we ask or say something to people we meet by coincidence something happenns. Maybe it is a girl you go for the same classes at the gym, or a person you commute with everyday, or a lady in a coffee shop, or a gentleman with a dog in the park. I am not encouraging you to harras random strangers but recognise if there is a person who needs a talk. It will help both you and them.
You will cross your boundaries, do something unusual, make yourself happy (of course if this is your type activity), make their day, find out something new, make a new friend or invite that person to Alpha (in my case at least).
Them – they will feel that there are real people in this world, who value relationships and who cares for others, they will think that wonderful things happen, that miracles exist and that WE ARE NOT ALONE.
Be creative in your random conversations. Do not only talk about the weather and if you really have to, talk about the forecast for Buenos Aires, not for London, because that will not breath too much of optimism to your conversation. Talk about their favourite colours, where are they from, their new year’s resolutions, their dreams, last book they’ve read or a film they’ve watched. Do not be afraid – if you say something silly – it is a one off. If you meet in the future you will both laugh at it as talking to a stranger is silly enough. Open up yourself to the world.