I watched this video this morning and I loved the idea so much I wanted to share it with all of you! Watch the video:
http://www.wimp.com/ballpit/ (you have to click the link – I can’t seem to embed this video)
Isn’t that just wonderful? This is why I like places where it’s okay to talk to strangers (bars, casinos, coffee shops, etc.). If I ever came across a ball pit like this, not only would I be the first one to jump into it; because ball pits on their own are awesome, but because talking to strangers is one of my all time favorite activities. It doesn’t matter where I am or what I am doing – yesterday I had a long conversation with a stranger about avocados in the grocery store. In a ten minute conversation I learned that she has two kids, every Saturday their whole extended family gets together for dinner and this Saturday they were having tacos. I helped her pick out some good ones – told her how to ripen them quicker and when they are the most delicious and gave her a quick recipe for guacamole. She knows that I am from California and miss cheap avocados, and that I didn’t like them until I was older. Now some people might not think that was a meaningful conversation – but I came home and told Kitten about her, and I am sure she went home and told her kids that a stranger helped her pick out some good avocados. I hope they have a wonderful taco night. We are now a part of each others lives – even if it seems insignificant and even if we never see each other again.
We spend a lot of time on this great big planet of ours avoiding people we don’t know or being so consumed by our own lives that we forget that there are millions of people feeling the same things, going through the same struggles, and loving the same things we do. We don’t have to continually separate ourselves because of political or religious affiliations – I don’t know or care who she voted for, I just hope she enjoys her family time and I love the fact that they take every Saturday to connect with each other. There are so many ways that we are all similar the fact that we constantly worry about our differences has separated us from one another.
One of the things that I love about my relationship is that Kitten also talks to strangers. She is constantly paying attention to the people around her and that she deals with on a daily basis. She is addicted to Dunkin’ Donuts iced coffee and the people who run our local Dunkin’ are Indian. Kitten knows all about them and is even working on learning the language they speak. Other customers look at her like she is crazy for talking to them and learning about their lives – but when she walks in for her coffee – it makes their day and other customers respond too – all of a sudden instead of just ordering and tossing money at them without even making eye contact, they start saying please and thank you and walk out with a smile on their face instead of the AM scowl. She is proof that one person, just by being kind, can make a difference and influence peoples lives.
You never know who you will meet or how important your conversation might be to you or the stranger. One more story: Kitten and I were at a shoe store shopping and we are a little crazy out in public sometimes (okay all the time). We laugh constantly. So we were shopping and being our usual crazy and there was a woman quite literally following us and cracking up at our antics. She finally broke down and told us how funny she thought we were and that she seriously needed a laugh that day. She asked if we were sisters (we get that a lot) and thanked us for making her laugh. Who knows why that woman needed a laugh that day – but it is possible that we helped bring her from a dark place into a more positive place just by sharing our crazy with her. It was obviously important enough to her that she mentioned it to us and it also made our day knowing that we made her life better for even a few minutes while shoe shopping.
So my challenge to you all dear readers is to talk to a stranger this weekend. Talk to the clerk scanning your groceries. Have a conversation with the gas station attendant. Help an elderly person carry their bags. Have a conversation with the person in line with you. Basically – create your own ball pit. Make a small connection with the people around you. I can say from experience that it will make your entire day better and possibly theirs too. Stop focusing on differences and embrace similarities even if the only thing you have in common at the time is location.
Go talk to a stranger. Come back here and share your experience.