Reflecting on my Stranger Encounter

Within the last few days, I had a handful of encounters with strangers, mostly when I was riding the elevator down from my apartment complex to the parking garage. With some encounters, I had small talks with strangers that were mostly along the lines of a simple ‘hello’, a simple ‘thanks’ if they decide to hold a door open for me, or if I was feeling extra ‘cheery’ that day, a small compliment. These remarks are usually what I would make whenever I encounter a stranger and whenever I felt like talking to one (eheh). In most encounters, both the stranger and I would simply advert eye contact by staring at our phones or the floor until the elevator reached our desired floor.

In one encounter, I had a relatively lengthy conversation with a stranger while waiting for my order at a fast food restaurant. The conversation arose when I noticed that the stranger next to me had a keychain with a character named ‘Jinx’ from a show called ‘Arcane’ (a show that I really really enjoy and one that I would recommend anyone to watch). Since the stranger wasn’t looking down at his phone and was just standing there alongside me, I started the conversation by saying how I liked his keychain. He replied with a very gracious “thank you” and then asked if Jinx was also my favorite character from the show to which I replied with a ‘YESSIR’. We then went on to talk about amazing the show was in every aspect and what our favourite moments were. Afterwhich, we then went on to speculate what events might occur or we would like to see happen within the second season. After a brief discussion about our theories, we collected our food, gave our remarks, and went in our separate ways. I went on thinking to myself what a cool dude he was as I went back to my car to go back home and enjoy my food.

This was a stark contrast to how most of my online interactions with strangers usually go. Most online interactions with strangers (which are rare in my case) usually do not really return the same feeling that I would get if I ever had a conversation with a stranger. I recall this one instance when I was talking to customer service about a bank issue, the guy on the phone asked a little bit about me while he was waiting for my account information to load onto his computer. He asked if I was in a post-secondary institution as well as what I was studying. He then asked me what my passions were or what I was planning to be after I graduate. After going on about my passions and fixing my banking issue, he wished me good luck in my future endeavours and ended the call.

Looking back at that encounter, I really appreciate the effort he took to lighten the mood on a phone that would normally be an annoyance. However, comparing this encounter to the real-life encounter, I felt as though the personal connection during the call was not as ‘strong’ as compared to the encounter with the stranger with the keychain. I can’t quite place the wording but it felt as though the connection within the real-life encounter was far more ‘genuine’ feeling. Nonetheless, both encounters made me feel as though I was connected more within a community. And that’s pretty cool.

Okay goodbye!

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