March 24, 2014 at 7:57 pm , by Nick Shell
3 years, 4 months.
Continued from Part 1: The Dishwasher Man.
We were at the toy store this past Saturday, just looking, while Mommy was at the Lifeway Christian store. As we were browsing through the Disney’s Cars aisle, we saw a grandmother, mother, and young son; I could tell they were on a mission.
“Is there a certain one you’re looking for?” I asked them, out of nowhere.
I ended up sending them across the street to Target, where I explained they were more likely to find the “Sally” car for a lower price; based on my experience of Christmas present shopping for you.
Then Saturday afternoon as we were on a family walk in the neighborhood and a lady with a dog was coming towards us, I announced to you that the nice lady had atalking dog.
I spoke with a deep, New York accent and pretended to be the dog, saying, “Hey Jack, do you like dogs?”
Yep, I carried on a 30 second conversation with you, as a dog; while both Mommy and the dog’s owner just smiled at each other at first.
Fun for us, slightly awkward for them. But it did lead to a real, actual conversation betwen Mommy and the dog’s owner.
Even just now as I’m writing this, Mommy proclaimed to me, “You definitely talk to random strangers more than anyone else I’ve ever met in my life.”
Thinking back, I would say the same thing about my Italian grandfather, “Paw Paw Metallo.”
So yeah, I learned it from him and I’m teaching that skill to you.
Granted, I only want you talking to strangers when I’m there too, for now. But I think that talking to strangers is a really good and important thing.
You never know when you can really make someone’s day. My suggestion is to stay away from generic conversation topics like the weather and “how are you?” as they tend to be pretty impersonal.
I think you did a great job this past weekend when you talked to the dishwasher man. I also liked how you also recently told your new gymnastics teacher, in the middle of the class, that you have a blue Cheetah named Cheety.
Yes, personality is part of it, but the main thing is, you find a way to get the conversation going. My experience is that people like that.
Even though you may be a complete stranger to them, I’ve learned most people appreciate the engagement, in what might otherwise be an ordinary day.
It’s important for fathers to teach and pass on skills to their sons. Since installing a new dishwasher or doing auto repairs will never be things I am knowledgeable enough to teach you about, I can teach you to talk to strangers.
And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
P.S. Read the entire Talking To Strangers series: