My wife sometimes teases me about how I seem to manage to strike up conversation with people almost at random/in-passing. But she can be somewhat shy, and I sometimes find a 'passing chat with a random stranger' turns out to be absolutely fascinating.
I recently described a few years ago singing along to an early 1970s Ethiopian pop-song together with a taxi-driver in Berlin. Unexpected to say the least.
Yesterday I had another conversation that 'just happened out of the blue'. I was in John Lewis London buying some bed-sheets together with cleaning products for dealing with clothes moths. The lady at the cash-till asked what I was using them for so I told the lady at we'd apparently brought the moths with us from the Middle-East in our household freight, and she gave me some tips on how she uses the products*. She asked where we had lived, I told her and I added my views re: 'common public perception here in the UK of a place', vs what it's really like to be there - a common disconnect IME. And how my wife is currently on holiday in Iran and having the most incredible time there. This led to her recounting her experiences of holidaying in Libya in the 90s in something of a parallel! Wow, that was fascinating
It's very striking to me a) because I was living abroad for 10 years and in those shoes you don't tend to 'just chat' with people in passing. And b) the perhaps rather unexpected depth of some peoples' experiences here.
*This is one reason I am such a #1-fan of Peter Jones/John Lewis. Not only are they well-priced, and have their price-match promise, their staff are often with the group for life and know their products inside-out. They can be a deeply useful source of first-hand advice.
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