February 04, 2007

The People You Meet

It's a brutally cold day here in New York City with no warmer weather on the horizon until much later in the week. I wouldn't mind a little snow, but I think I may be in the minority in that wish! I just think that if it's going to feel like winter, it should look like winter too.

Anyway, being more housebound than usual started me thinking about the interesting people I've met purely by chance. Like yesterday for instance. We were in the lobby of an Off-Broadway theatre waiting for the doors to open and take our seats. A gentleman sat next to me on the bench and excused himself for bothering me. "How could you possibly be bothering me?" I asked, and with that we started talking. John lives in New Jersey, and every Saturday, rain or shine, he drives into Manhattan and goes to the theatre. Not just one show. He goes to a matinee, a movie, dinner, and an evening performance. Every Saturday. John did not strike me as a very wealthy man, in fact he said that he had to limit the number of major Broadway musicals to one per month, but his passion for the stage, his sheer love of live theatre, compelled him repeat this week after week. And after each performance, he waited outside to maybe get an autograph. Not to sell, just to have as a fond memory of another wonderful Saturday.

Restaurants are also good spots for chance meetings. Like with the lady chef on a private yacht who oversaw a galley that fed a family, their guests and a crew of 12. She was on shore leave in Paris and had been advised to try this particular restaurant. She was sitting by herself at the next table and we soon started talking. She told us how every time the vessel docked, she went ashore and to ferret out the local purveyors of food and wine and stock up on the region's specialties. Anywhere. The Caribbean, North and South America and Europe. She only spoke English, but managed, though the common language of food, to find fresh and unusual ingredients to sustain the gourmet cravings of her wealthy employer. An interesting life, she said, but it was important to remember that it was not her reality, just a temporary adventure.

I could go on and on about various chance encounters that rewarded with entertaining, informative or moving insights, but I'm sure you've had you're own experiences. I sometimes think that as a society we close ourselves off and remain embroiled in our own personal issues. It's important to take a moment to smile and say hello - you never know what wonders will come from a simple act of kindness!

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