Recently, I went to this intriguing art exhibition called ‘Don’t Talk To Strangers’ at Bridge Gallery Studio, off Karangahape Road. When I arrived after 10am (opening time), there was no one there, and was alerted to a note in the window to call a mobile – in this instance. I went away and returned 30 minutes later to find a welcoming young French woman who offered me tea. I declined, after just having coffee. There was a collection of eclectic objects on tin shelves, that all had a hand-written (personal) story attached, ranging from a thimble, painting, nail set, dried flower, postcard, book and so forth.
“Attendees can choose an existing object from the gallery to take home with them, in a sort of trade-like marketplace. Participants are also given the opportunity to write a small note to accompany their object, sharing its past, or its significance for its former owner. It’s all very sentimental.”
I wrote my note and left my object after discussing the content on the shelves (and their previous owners) with the curator. I always speak to strangers, including today when I asked a complete stranger to jump over my fence, as I had accidentally locked myself out of my house. Sometimes gifts are warranted, other times a kind exchange of words is ample for an ever-lasting memory.
Strangers can shape our world and alter our mood – for the better.
At school, we were taught that we should never speak to strangers, due the danger that could ensue. As adults it is healthy and encouraged, to speak to strangers, to learn and grow from the content of your conversation, with somebody unknown to you. So there is networking, where you speak to a controlled group of people, generally with name tags on. Or just talking to a randomn person on a plane, the street or in a queue. I definitely speak to strangers, it is great to gain another perspective, find out something that you didn’t know before that moment. Admittedly, I have also told strangers things, that I have not even discussed with my best friend. Why is that? Anonymity. A snapshot of time, that is exclusive. Also you will probably never see that person and/or stranger ever again. Chicken soup for the soul. Next time on the flight to LA, speak to the person in 14B, they might be your next employer!