convos with strangers

conversations with strangers #115


I pushed through the first set of absurdly heavy library doors and glanced over my shoulder to see if anyone was behind me. A man was, so I paused and held the door for him.

Him: Thank you. And now you have to let me. *scurries past* *pushes next door open* *waves me through*

Me: Why, thank you.

Him: One good turn deserves another.

The clichéd statement has never felt so genuine or warm. Who knew opening doors would be such a pleasant way to pass the evening?



As a captain of my work’s softball team, I create the lineups and email game details to the team. My co-captain communicates with the opponents and assigns beer penalties. Other than the lineup, we do next to no coaching…except that the past two games, the most coaching I did was to remove myself. The other teams have my number and have been rocking my pitches for home run after home run.

It’s a casual league, but I’m not a casual player. I hate not playing but I hate losing even more and so I put someone else on the pitcher’s mound.

An unavoidable conflict last night made me miss our fourth game of the season last night and with the tiniest roster yet, I had to assign a completely new player as pitcher. He’d made noises about wanting to pitch and I’m a good listener.

Updates about the game poured in from my co-captain.

T: We won. Walk off. 20-19. Did u really miss game for haircut?

Me: Yes. [Lengthy explanation.] Also, CONGRATULATIONS. A walk off in our favor! My lineup worked!

T: It did. [Outfielder] hit the winner

Me: And who scored the run?

T: [New pitcher]. He was awesome tonight

Me: How’d he’d do pitching? Am I being replaced?

T: He did well.

In addition to listening well, I’m also good at reading-between-the-lines. I think it’s time to pull my bullhorn and cheerleading outfit out of the closet. I’m no longer needed on the field.



“I’m going to do two blondes. One the same shade as last time. One a bit lighter,” she said.

And it’s how I do everything – in small, minute increments. Barely noticeable. Barely moving.

“I’ve secretly always wanted red hair,” I blurted.

She studied me a moment. “You know, I think you could pull that off. You’ve got the right skin tone. And your hair’s a 7/8 so it would do well with red.”

My head was too full of possibility to inquire what 7/8 hair meant. Whatever it was (tone, hue, texture, length?) I had it and was a candidate for a pipe dream I’ve never voiced out loud before. I like the haircut I’ve got which leaves the color as the only thing available to change.

Friends left and right are leaving to live abroad, and life here sometimes feels stagnant.

Red. Could I really do it?

“We could do a temporary one that would rinse out in a few washes,” she said.

Pretty soon I’m going to start dreaming in red.

[Edited to add: NO. I didn’t go through with it. The blondes were already applied to my head and were steeping, plus, hello?!? I move slowly. I need time to come to terms with this massive change. I only dyed my hair for the first time ever in January 2014. Today was the second time.]

convos with strangers

conversations with strangers #114

6.10.15, Florence + the Machine concert

6.10.15 florence + the machine

*slow music* *Florence’s sultry voice*

Him (to H and myself): Do you know what song this is?

H: *shakes head*

Me: What Kind of Man. Wait for it. It’ll pick up in a second.

*lights flash* *music cranks up by 1000 decibles*

Him: *shouts* Oh, yes. Great song! The slow beginning threw me.

We all jumped and jived and felt the drumbeats in our chests. Noticing I was a receptive audience, we chatted about the show, guessed which songs would be next, and high-fived as the house lights came on. He surprised me because with all the extra time H and I had had (we arrived right as the doors opened), I’d studied the crowd’s (predominantly female) dynamics. Most males there were with a female significant other and while this guy was with a girl, they appeared to be friends, and it didn’t seem as if he’d been coerced into attending. In fact, he was taking notes on the set list. No one in the room had more enthusiasm than Florence, but this kid was close.

I’m relatively new to the Florence + the Machine fandom (about 2 years in), so I’m happy to learn they have such delightful fans.

On another note, I’ve never been to a concert like that or seen a performer like her. Florence was a powerhouse, but also delicate. Athletic. Ethereal. Energetic. Angelic. Booming. Commanding. Deliberate. She laughed and broke our hearts with her honesty. She floated and twirled around the stage and then charged across it. She was one thing and then she was another, but her voice never wavered or sounded anything less than flawless.

I wore goosebumps the whole time.