Conversation with a Stranger

A few days back Leon and I hit the big town for a little adventure (well, errands…). Pausing for a moment in a coffee shop, to down some jarred spaghetti bolognese for one of us and a flat white for another, we had a random encounter with a stranger.

There I am, waiting patiently for my coffee at the end of the counter, when he waltzes past and starts talking to me out of the blue. He made some enthusiastic comment about this dress I was wearing, which prompted my to reply something about it being my mum’s old maxi, and how they don’t make them like they used to…these days… It ended up becoming a Conversation. We didn’t introduce ourselves, I didn’t shake hands with his mrs or ruffle his toddler’s hair, but it was nevertheless an Effortless Conversation with a Complete Stranger.

So what? I’ll tell you. I’ve spent 16 years in Sweden. And in Sweden we very seldom talk to strangers. You may get away with it if you’re an immigrant. Or if you’re drunk. Those are the two major explanations as to why you would want to break the social conventions and venture into someone else’s Personal Space. And it will most likely be perceived as an invasion. And you will be labeled as STRANGE. But then Sweden’s cold, weather-wise I mean. That must account for some of the reservedness..? I think so. It may sound a bit simplistic but, if you ask me, climate does affect culture in some very interesting ways.

I’m just saying, there’s something freeing and refreshing about sharing mundane comments with someone in the queue at Sainsbury’s or on the bus stop or the coffee shop. Even if it’s just a passing comment about the weather. It happens to us every day walking down these streets. And I love that about England. The distance between strangers just isn’t that big a deal.

2 Comments on “Conversation with a Stranger”

disa

Wednesday, 9. November 2011 at 11:34 pm

Så är det. :)

Hanna

Friday, 18. November 2011 at 8:49 pm

Well said my darling! I totally agree, you just feel free! It took some time for me to get used to thou.. 😉

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