The other day, one of my Masters program professors reminded me of an old adage: Strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet.
Corny, sure, but it suddenly seemed like a fun challenge. In light of my landlord’s recent display of kindness (of which I am still highly suspicious), I thought maybe I, too, should adjust my attitude with this platitude.
I played out a scenario in my head first:
INT. GROCERY STORE – EVENING
“Hi!” I smile while the teenaged clerk checks the price of my almond butter. Forty-seven dollars, I want to tell her. That is the going rate for dry roasted almond pulp.
“Hello,” she grimaces.
“It’s so nice to see you, Kim!” I say, eyeing her name tag and assuming my role as transient bagger. “Let me do this. You’ve had another long day.”
She keeps her eyes on the task at hand.
“How’s your mother doing?” I ask.
“Um, fine,” she replies, glancing up briefly.
“And your dad?”
Kim stops, mid-scan, and stares at me.
“Do I…do we…I’m sorry. Do I know you?”
“You do now! Did you see Sully yet?”
“I love Tom Hanks. Aren’t he and Rita Wilson so inspiring? You should really try to find a guy like that. Enough with the bad boys.”
“Just a friend we haven’t met yet!”
Then, armed with the confidence only new confidants can bring, I’d go into situations like the one I was in on Wednesday night -seeing Amy Schumer live- with guns blazing. (Not actual guns. Amy and I don’t like those.)
“Amy! Amy!!! Hi!” I shout from 17 rows back. “It’s me! Jules!”
When Amy fails to acknowledge this attempt, I stand up in my chair.
“It’s JULES! Remember the time we never met?!”
I step down from the chair and flag a security guard.
“Can you please tell Amy I’m here?”
The security guard warns me that I’ll be removed from the theater if I stand on my chair again. I nod, wait two minutes, and then sneak down the aisle towards stage left.
“Amy!!!” I whisper loudly, taking the first step onto the stage. I wave a fluorescent pink band. “I brought you a slap bracelet!”
No matter how many times I run through this in my head, I wind up in jail.
How about you? What stranger would you like to turn into a friend? (And do you think you could do it without getting arrested?)