Talking to Strangers

strangersgraphicTalking to strangers is, well, let’s be honest…not something I’m into.

I’m not that big of a talker period. I don’t enjoy talking on the phone.  I don’t even enjoy talking in person much of the time.

Every now and then, I’ll end up in an actual interesting conversation with someone and then I’ll think — wow, this talking thing isn’t so bad. But inevitably, the interesting portion of that conversation will end and then it’s on to talking about things I’ve already talked about/listened to at least 300 times.


My husband, on the other hand, just looooves to talk (even though he’s not very good at it). He likes to talk to people he knows.  He likes to talk to people he doesn’t know.  He likes to talk on the phone.  He likes to talk in person.  He likes to both talk and listen.

We have a lot in common, but this is not one of those things.

I think it’s interesting, in a why-would-you-start-that kind of way, that he’ll talk to complete strangers in a restaurant, grocery store or even a parking lot.

I’m the person who puts my earbuds in the second I get on a plane so the person next to me doesn’t start a conversation. I’m not a total bitch – I promise. I’m just a bit of an introvert.

As I explain to my husband when he marvels at my lack of interest in chewing the fat, there are only so many words allotted to any given person in a day and he uses up 100% of his and 80% of mine, so what am I supposed to do? But I like it that way. That’s one of the reasons we’re good together. He picks up my conversation slack – and I pick up his slacks.



So imagine my surprise when I started going out and about with a preemie who has an apnea monitor and a feeding tube (here’s how he got that way – it’s a story worth reading). And everywhere I go, people start asking me about him, or telling me their preemie stories.

It would be impossible for me to tell you how many of these experiences I’ve had in the last few months since Meyer came home from the hospital.

A lot.

He can’t exactly stay with a babysitter, so I drag him everywhere I go. And people stop me. In malls. Doctors’ offices. Grocery stores. At Asher’s preschool. On the sidewalk. In the drugstore. At the dog groomer. At festivals. And once, in a public bathroom.

Which is kinda weird.

But the weirdest thing of all is that I don’t mind it so much. At least 75% of these people end up sharing preemie stories with me. They were preemies, they had a preemie, their sister or neighbor had a preemie. And without fail, everyone of them then tells me how great the kid is doing today.

heatsleep1Even 29-weekers like Meyer are winning spelling bees, quarterbacking football teams, performing original music in Europe, and acing their SATs.

It makes me smile.  And feel a real sense of community. And feel really good about my baby’s chances of being whatever kind of talented, accomplished or even just happy person he wants to be.

He’s already paying me back by being the best baby ever put on the planet.

We may have gone through some serious stuff for a few months. But I think he’s paying us back by being as little trouble as he can be from here on out. Which makes him easy to drag all over the place all the time. And puts us in public places where people want to talk to me all the time.

And for once, I kinda like it. Maybe I should open myself up to general chit-chat with strangers more often? After all, there’s bound to be some aspect of the weather I haven’t discussed with the postman 30 or 40 times.

Eh. That sounds hard.

Like talking to strangers? Me neither. Let’s be friends instead.

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  1. Loved this post! It is hard at times going through the preemie saga, but it is really cool when we see them growing up and happy.

    • It’s really nice to finally be peeking my head above water a little bit. Boy, has my perspective on what qualifies as a real “problem” changed!


  1. […]  Teach him about perspective, and how sometimes a small shift can change […]

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