Thursday, May 9, 2019

TALKING TO STRANGERS by Hannah Rowan #RomanceGems

My husband went to the men’s room while we were waiting for the server to bring our check.  By the time he returned I was deep in a discussion with a group of women at the next table about the incompetence of the waiter, the dirtiness of the restaurant, where we lived, where we were thinking of living in the future, what our children did for a living, and other little things like that.

“I was only gone for five minutes,” my husband said.

Yes, but the ladies and I bonded over the fact that the waiter took off with our credit cards many minutes before and was now possibly shopping at a nearby mall and we were never coming back to this restaurant again.

“How do you know so much about these people?” my husband will ask.

I don’t know.  It just happens!  People tell me things.

Okay, maybe I ask a lot of questions.

But I know that one of the clerks at the grocery store works there part time while holding down a full-time job and working on a book about aliens.

And another works there while going to school to be a nurse.

My husband grows somewhat alarmed because he knows if I go to the ladies’ room in a restaurant, I’m likely to be gone a while because I’m listening to someone’s latest story.

I know a lot about the people in the post office, the library, and my favorite card store.  But I also find out about the people sitting next to me on a bus, on a plane, or in the doctor’s waiting room.

What I don’t understand is how someone can not know these things. My husband will get off the phone with a friend or relative and I’ll ask what the person said.

“Oh, nothing,” he’ll say. 

But they’ve been talking for 10 minutes.

I’ll ask why his friend is getting a divorce, or why they’ve decided to move to another state, or why they’re inviting us to their house for dinner.  A party?  Do I need to bring a gift?  He never knows!

Perhaps it’s the writer in me, gathering all these little bits and pieces of other people’s lives and filing them away to possibly pull out and twist around an fit them into a story.

Or maybe I’m just a pathologically nosy person who never learned not to talk to strangers.


  1. Hannah, in another life probably you solved mysteries and murders, just like Agatha Christie's Jane Marple (I love her)!

  2. I think it's a talent to be able to become instant friends and get people to open up. You should write a how to book about it, though I bet you're just a natural.

  3. I also think it's a writer thing. People are so interesting--why wouldn't we want to know about them?

  4. I have a habit of chatting with anyone who's around also. It does make for some nice book fodder for future stories!! Like the time I was chatting with the alligator wrestler at the Indian Village....

  5. I envy your ease of conversation! I'm usually reserved (unless I've a cocktail, then I love errrybody, lol) although anytime I've let my guard down, I've had amazing conversations!You've reminded me to set that goal...engage more! Great post❤

  6. Agree with Liz. People are interesting. Everyone has a story. It's always interesting to see the reaction of a true introvert if I try to engage with them. So far out of their comfort zone to acknowledge a stranger never mind talk to one.

    1. Oddly enough, I consider myself an introvert. But I was a reporter for 20 years or so. I guess I got used to asking people questions.

  7. I talk to anyone anywhere! Men are particularly prone to engaging with me. Could be because I'm tall enough to look them in the eye. (hm, maybe I should stop doing that) But yes, I gather stories too..and spread whenever, wherever, I can. I have a grandson who is right now gathering a ton of family stories and spewing them every chance he gets. The topic? Poop. Yes, he asks all of us poop stories. His mom's, his dad's, grandparents...we all share stories with him and he talks about them. He's 4 1/2 so, yeah, that's where his mind is. LOL (but I like to think it's more about chronicling the stories than the subject matter)

    1. I saw that somewhere on FB, Bonnie! I have 4 grandsons and I can see where that topic would be of tremendous interest to little boys!

  8. Bloom in the outhouse, literature and poop, James Joyce, Ulysses, O Hannah you're literary through and through.

  9. It's not just a writer thing, and your post shows that's the difference between women and men!! I always enjoy your posts, Hannah.


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