stranger encounters

sometimes, i accidentally make eye contact with people. it has led to the following this week:

home depot: a much, much older guy started talking to me about his cabin and how it desperately needed a woman's touch and some photos of birds (but not of horses running across the sand), and also how he has a very sensitive nose and could smell if someone had chewed gum within the last hour. as i was edging away he told me "you're a fine looking woman. i'm not dead yet, you know" and then he winked at me. i think it was because i was wearing an argyle sweater.

post office: i was standing in line when the man in front of me turned around and shouted "you must be greek!"
me (after jumping back a foot because a man had just shouted into my face): "no, i'm not greek."
man: "ah, you are british!"
me: "nope. not british."
man: "and you say you are not from greece?"
me: "nope, never been to greece."
man: "i haven't either. never been to greece. just like you. i am from macedonia. MACEDONIAAAA!"
me: "oh... that's cool"
man: "yes, yes, i love macedonia. i am from macedonia you know."
me: "yes, you mentioned that."
man: "you know, alexander the great was from macedonia."
me: "i didn't know that. that's interesting."
man: "yes, you know, he was the greatest man in the all world. the greatest man! and from MACEDONIAAAA!"
me: silent.
man: "alexander the great, you know. you know alexander the great?"
me: "yes. he's... great."
man: "he's going to be great again, you know. you know he will again be the greatest man in the whole world. that's what the prophecies say. it's going to happen soon. yes, that's what they say. alexander the great from macedonia is going to be the greatest man in the world again. in macedonia. i am from macedonia, you know... you are greek?"
me: "yes! i am greek."

sometimes i feel just like the little boy in church who, when i smiled at him, whispered "please don't look at me". but at least there's always a story to tell.

but other times you meet the most interesting people. like the blueberry man angie and i met in bryant park while we waited out the rain. he has lived in the same tiny apartment for twenty years and develops his photos in the bathroom. he and his friends have gone to almost every movie at bryant park since they started showing them. that night he had brought freshly baked ratatouille. every year he harvests and photographs the blueberries in maine and makes his own blueberry jam. did you know blueberries grow like ground cover and are harvested with a dust pan thing? we didn't either. and he is planning on building a giant portable blueberry field as a museum exhibit. he was fascinating.

and, just for good measure, a random story. last month i dropped my ice cream cone at chick-fil-a. i was laughing but then randomly started crying (?) and the teenager walking around handing out mints felt bad and got me a new one. yes, i'm twenty-four. no, i was not too ashamed to accept the new cone. it was delicious.
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