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March 29, 2012

talking to strangers.

i collect things.
books, photographs, snow globes, coffee mugs. moments. moments when i feel so much love that i smile and pause and sigh out loud with gratitude.
i've never followed the rule "don't talk to strangers." we're all strangers until someone talks first. to think of the friends i never would've made had i not talked first is a scary and odd thought. i like to talk and sometimes i work up the courage to talk to a total stranger, especially if it's someone i see rather often.
his name is greg. i see this man at the clark and lake stop when i transfer from the orange to brown line. he waits for the green. greg=green is how i remember. greg is blind. his guide dog is a very cute and large black poodle. it takes everything i have not to bend down and pet that sweet pup. 
it started with me asking if he was waiting for brown or green because no one else was ever walking up to him and the color of the train is not announced on the platform.
it makes me sad to think how long he stood there without a single person talking to him.
after i knew he was waiting for the green line, the first few times i would say, "this is brown. two more and the third's a green." he would thank me. i would wish him a good day and fumble for not introducing myself. i'd get on the train and be mad at myself until the next time i saw him when i'd inevitably repeat the process.
last week, finally, i stopped.
"i'm rhiannon. i'm the person who's been coming up to you for the past few weeks. i'm sorry i haven't introduced myself before now," i said.
"hi, i'm greg. this is ruben," he said.
ruben. my cat's name is ruby.
i saw him yesterday.
"morning, greg. hi ruben," i said.
"morning. ruben's birthday was yesterday," he said.
"happy birthday, ruben," i said as i reminded myself not to touch him. i thought of my own dogs i haven't seen in such a long time.
we chatted about how much the weather had changed. i told him how many trains until his would be there.
"that's okay. we didn't want to go to work anyway, did we ruben?" he joked.
i laughed and told him to have a nice day. he wished me the same.
it was nice. i'll take it.

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