My quest for connections continues, and so it went when I found myself at the mall on Friday afternoon.
I had a lovely chat with one person in particular that left me smiling big.
As I walked in to the store, I knew I was out of my element. My jeans read Old Navy on the tag, not Mavi, but I wanted a jean jacket, and hey, this was Jean Machine. So in I went, hoping that I wouldn’t seem like an old fuddy-duddy mom in a store where the music pumping at decibels that made it clear that their target demographic was a good 15 years younger than I am.
But in I went, because Marilyn Dennis said that a jean jacket is a good way to update my wardrobe for spring, and if Marilyn says so, then it is so. There were some young girls wearing pink converse and square plastic glasses hanging around the front of the store, so I beelined for the back just to get past them, not noticing that I flew right by the jean jackets I went in to see. The nice young guy must have seen the look of bewilderment on my face, as he came over to say hello and ask if I needed anything.
Normally, I’d say “No, thanks, I’m just looking”, and look quickly away. But not this time. This time I looked him in the eye, gave him a big smile, and made some joke about the loud music bothering my hearing aids. Dude and I started to chat, and we got beyond jeans and jean jackets pretty quickly. He excitedly told me all about his wedding in Cuba coming up in a week, and the two receptions to follow when he and his beloved returned home. So of course, I told him about Stu’s and my wedding at the Franti show, and we talked about weddings, and we talked about music, and we talked about our partners, and we talked about our partners’ tastes in music, and lots of other things. We had some laughs and some mutual eye rolls at the girls in the pink converse shoes, and it wasn’t long before he wasn’t a stranger anymore. I didn’t leave the store with a jean jacket, but I did leave with a promise from this Dude that he would check out Michael Franti’s music, and a commitment to him that I would check out The Lumineers. (I’m listening to them right now, and they’re great!)
As I walked out of the store, my step felt much lighter than when I walked in. And not just because I wasn’t laden down with one more purchase that I really didn’t need. It was because it felt so great to connect with someone, and be open, and share a little bit of my life, and learn a little bit about his. I didn’t get his phone number or a promise to keep in touch. I didn’t even get his name. This wasn’t a long association, but it was warm, and it was genuine. It was a moment of connection between two people, where we realized that a twenty-something guy working at Jean Machine and thirty-something stay-at-home mom have a few things in common, and can share them in a lovely ten minute conversation.
It was in the lightness and smileyness that I felt afterwards that I realized how rare this has been in my life. Connection. Honest, open connection. No agenda or motive, beyond sharing a moment with another human being. A connection, where a stranger isn’t strange for very long.
Have you tried it? Did you make any new connections today?