Saturday, 12 September 2015

A Guest Post from Ann Patchett - DON'T TALK TO STRANGERS!

Don`t talk to strangers ! 

Did your Mum ever say that to you when you were a child?  mine did, it put the fear of God in me, I looked upon strangers as if they were all bad people, who would snatch you away from your loving family and do nasty things to was surely done out of pure Love…but sadly it stayed with me and just as sadly I said the same to my two children years later!

I find it very sad that we live in a time where nobody communicates with each other, not even our very own neighbours, grumpiness on the bus, train, in the street, you name it, people seem to be in their own cocoon.

And yet now, many years later, I have to say that I talk to a lot more people, even if it is just a “Good Morning” or even a smile….it doesn`t cost anything does it? And I am also mindful that for some people that might be their only interaction that day or possible week!

I am a keen walker, and recently I have also taken up cycling.

This week end I have met some lovely strangers, yesterday I went to Hebden Bridge which is not too far from where I live, I decided to go to Stoodley Pike which is a historical monument on top of the hills, I call it my “spiritual home” it is so quiet and I regularly meditate up there to clear my head, on a clear day you can see for miles across the Pennine way, across the Calderdale valley, it is very beautiful and is by far my favourite walk.

Although I started the walk at about 7 in the morning, I saw so many runners and cyclists and walkers, and most had a “Good morning” to say, some kept their headsdown, but most had a cheery smile or a nod. I find that most people will answer back if you make eye contact.

On the way back down from the hills I went for a coffee on the canal at the locally known “Bike Den”, initially this is a bike shop, repairing bikes and selling them, for each bike that is sold, the owners give £10 to their charity, which is great, and some bikes that they can`t sell are sent to Tanzania …isn`t that great that there are people who think about people across the world? (From Everday folk: if you want to know more about The Bicycle Den and their work for charity, take a look at  and their facebook page ) They make great coffee too! So a big thumbs up thumbs up and thank you to Jo, Toby and everyone at the Bike Den.    

Jo and Toby

I sat outside and by the time I had finished my coffee, there were five of us “strangers” just talking and putting the world to rights, it was stressless and effortless….I hope those people went away as I did and thought it could be a lovely world if everyone just spoke to each other, or even smiled.

Incidently, before I commenced my walk, I parked my car up and got my bag out of the boot and decided that I was parked too far away from the kerb, so I put my rucksack on the path and got back in the car to straighten up, I saw this young girl running towards me who saw my bag on the path and thought I was leaving, Bless her if she did n`t run up the hill at the side of the car waving and shouting, was funny but lovely that a stranger would do that for another stranger, some folk would have just left it and carried on with their business.  So another thumbs up thumbs up and thanks to a that girl, and although I didn't get your name, hope you see this so you know your efforts were appreciated. 

Today I went on my bicycle ride. I went on the canal at Saltaire which is 10 minutes away from where I live. I cycled from Saltaire to Apperley Bridge, again there were so many people about, who prompted a smile or a “Good Morning” at one point I was pushing my bike as unfortunately I was saddle sore, (somethings have not changed from my childhood!) and a lovely young man got off his bike and asked if I had a puncture? Bless him I had to come clean…but this young man was ready to help me…yet another stranger. Another nameless thanks and thumbs up thumbs up.     

By the time I got back to Saltaire I was ready for my second breakfast, I locked the bike up to a railing and a lovely lady stopped and chatted, apparently she was a very keen cyclist in her day but due to ill health she only went out occasionally, we chatted as if we had known each other for years, so much so that I asked this stranger if she wanted a coffee, quite clearly she did but alas she had made plans to meet someone else.

I guess the moral of the story is, is if we all made an effort to speak with strangers…. our fellow man, than I am sure that this would be a better world to live in.  So I would like give thanks and many thumbs up thumbs up to "strangers".

I aim to speak to at least five different strangers each day…is that something you could do?

Ann Patchett
twitter @annpatchett

No comments:

Post a Comment