Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Doug Reviews Talking to Strangers

I am writing this blog on my phone, in a small sandwich shop during my lunch hour. Amazing!

Walking around downtown Vancouver today, I started taking notice of people's reactions to me. By nature, I smile and often say, "Hi" to strangers when I pass them on the sidewalk. I get 1 of 3 reactions:

1. Guy glances at me like I asked him to suck snake venom out of my upper thigh. He quickly averts his gaze and looks down at the sidewalk, while suddenly picking up his pace.

2. Girl immediately assumes I am hitting on her and makes a "who farted" face. This always sort of makes me feel bad. Look, I know I'm no Kevin Costner, but jeez ladies, if the thought of me hitting on you is that repulsive, your standards are too high. I mean, the fact that I am freshly bathed, wearing a suit and evidently employed should give me a leg up on the competition, right?

3. Person smiles and says hello back. This happens once a week, so maybe like 2% of the people I say hello to.

So obviously, I was feeling a little blue when I sat down to my Italian BMT.

But then I started thinking, what are these encounters with me like for the other person? Let's review the evidence:

A 6'4", 230 pound white man dressed in an ill fitting suit walks up to you and barks, "Hi!"

He follows this up by staring at you expectantly with an enormous smile and judging eyes, like a maniac planning his next murder.

Suddenly, by looking at things from that perspective, I can understand the discomfort displayed by most strangers on the street. They aren't the psychopaths, I am. Who struts around town smiling and greeting everyone other than politicians and crazies?

Upon coming to this conclusion, I picked up my phone and started typing, and now here we are.

What would happen if I went through other aspects of my life and applied the same principle of viewing the world from the perspective of others instead of using my same old judgements and biases?

What would my marriage be like? What about work?

What about presidential debates? What kind of posts would show up on Facebook if everyone did this? Would we remain a nation divided, willing to die on each and every hill of our own moronic and limited opinion?

I don't know. I'm really just wandering around in my brain right now. Sorry about the lame post. I'll put something up to bury this soon, maybe tonight.


  1. I always smile back when somebody says "hi"...if they are attractive. If they are ugly than I pretend that I didn't hear them.

  2. John, that made me snort from laughing. And Nick, as someone who is fascinated by your travel and living updates, I consider myself lucky that you would even read my drivel. Thanks guys.