Thursday, October 6, 2011

"Good things happen when you meet strangers" - Yo Yo Ma

#5 - Befriend a stranger

Now, I know our families always say "Don't talk to strangers" when we're little kids. In fact, I'll guarantee every kid has received the same speech in one way or another. But many who know me understand that I tend to march to the beat of my own drum. I'm not a person who conforms easily, if at all. Quite the opposite, actually.

You see, for me, being a social butterfly comes kinda naturally. I know a few people would consider me shy or reserved, but when opportunity knocks for a chance encounter....the world is in my favor.

I've met all different walks of life in the most random places. From the grocery store checkout counter, to the train to & from NYC, even on an airplane; yet if I had to pick the most interesting person I have befriended, it would have to be Carlos, an NJIT student (now graduate.) At first, we would just see each other on the platform at Linden Train Station, waiting for the morning train to our respective places. It wasn't until at least a couple of months in that we had our first exchange of hellos and soon after that, making sure to sit with one another on the train in order to continue our conversation from the platform.

While I never really talked about Carlos with anyone, it was nice to have an outside perspective from my everyday norm. On the days I would show up with red eyes from yet another fight with my ex, Carlos would sit there and remind me how wonderful I was to talk to and that whatever happened, life would work out in my favor. And on the happier days, we would talk about how we were doing with our work and with life. 

2005-2006 had come and gone with Carlos along for the ride, at least to Newark Penn. Although it was only a matter of time that Carlos would graduate and I would find a job outside of the city; our brief companionship on the train was something that looking back now,  probably one of the few things to keep me sane in such a crazy time of my life.

I mean, I was getting engaged (although not to the right person), in my first job right out of college, moving out of my parent's house, having roommate issues, friend issues, family issues, pressure of being something I wasn't, and nothing was completely stable. Having at least someone outside of all of those circles kept me balanced, and I realized that chance encounters are what aid you in those times of need, the unbiased opinion. The one to help me see through all of the stress and know that if I didn't focus on myself a little bit, I would crack. 

I still check up on Carlos via FB every once in a while, even though it is highly unlikely with our current paths in life that we will ever meet again. But who knows? Maybe a few years down the line, we may meet again and just like old friends, catch up on our lives to the next destination in our journey. 


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