Monday, March 16, 2009

Do you talk to strangers? I do on Musing Monday!

From the cyper desktop of Rebecca at Just One More Page "Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about talking to strangers…

We were all warned as children to 'never talk to strangers', but how do you feel about book-talk with random people? When you see people reading, do you ask what it is? Do you talk to people in the book store or the library? Why or why not? What do you do if people talk to you? (question courtesy of Dena)"

We were all warned as children not to talk to strangers? Was I warned as a child not to talk to strangers? No, I don't think so. Granted, it was a slightly different world that I grew up in, not as filled with fear about might happen to children as today's world is. You will notice I don't say that it was actually a safer world, because I am not convinced it was. I just think, perhaps due to a lack of 24 cable news being pumped into out heads, no Amber Alert being blared across the TV, we were not as aware of all the terrible things that some very bad people will do to others, especially children.

Then there was the fact that my mother, in retrospect, had a slightly odd approach to childrearing. Now, don't get me wrong. My mother was a great mom...she was smart and funny and did a great job raising me and my Bro when she found herself widowed, owning a bar, in an inner city neighborhood...again in retrospect...eeek! And it is from her that I received my love of books. But really, she let us wander on our own to a degree that I now see as a bit odd. As kids, for example The Bro and I would go to New York City alone, together when I was quite young, alone when I was a bit older.
Quite the adventure...

But then maybe she knew that I was never going to talk to any strangers anyway. I barely talked to people I knew. Because, my dear readers, I am the classic introvert. Always have been, always will be. I could as a child and can still as an adult, spend countless hours alone, quite contentedly. It appears that my need for personal interaction is lesser than the average human being.

So would I try to see what others are reading? Possibly, because as an introvert, I am also an observer of people. I am an Observer Introvert. And I like books. So yes, I am curious about books, my books, your books, stranger's books. Would I ask what it is? On think not! That would burst the bubble of the Observer seems much too bold. If they could stand there a few weeks, I might bring myself around to it. In the meantime, I think I will just keep reading my book, thank you.

Do you talk to people in the book store or the library? NO!
Why or why not? Have you heard nothing I said?
What do you do if people talk to you? Yes, there is that
Actually, as The Niece can attest, it actually happen the other day and it was book related. We were in Sam's Club...she needed socks before she went back to college and I will take any excuse to go to Sam's and look at STUFF. Anyhoo, we were looking at, believe it or not, books, when a woman starting talking to me, perhaps in response to something I had said to The Niece. She asked if I had read anything by a certain author, which I had not, and went on a bit about why I should. I understand her enthusiasm about books and an author she loves...but really, one should control ones self in public, no?
What did I do? Well, I responded politely, as I always will. I think we had what might be considered a conversation. If books are involved, I might actually not have to pretend to be interested. I don't mind so much talking to people in such a situation, it would just never really occur to me to speak to them first.

Unless they were about to fall into an unseen gaping hole that had suddenly opened in the floor or something important like that. Then I would most like speak first. Especially if they were holding some books. I mean, what a waste.


  1. OK, I am the obnoxious person that speaks to strangers in public. I will talk to anyone and everyone, especially about books. My mom did tell me not to talk to strangers, but apparently I didn't learn my lessons.

    This is don't sound like an introvert on your blog! In fact, you are very colorful and verbal.

  2. Sandy is so right. You do not sound like an introvert at all. I had imagined you as the bright light wherever you went with your sparkling wit. Great post as always and as always, I laughed out loud. Keep up the scintillating introvertedness. (is that even a word?) well, you know what I mean

  3. Oh, I have you all fooled!Ha Ha Ha!!

    I suspect that many of us introverts have a hidden life..inside our heads...that is shared with few. Some of us on the other hand, are just weird, dull people.

    My sparkling wit is usually kept well hidden, my bright light hidden under a bushel basket, thank you. Except to you, my dear readers!

  4. It is always such fun to read what you are going to say ... and you didn't disappoint at all! This was such a fun post to read ... but reading your other comments as I worked my way through the Musing Monday posts, I knew pretty much what I would find here! I do think most people who love to read have a bit of an anti-social nature --after all, we would rather read than talk to "real" people. I loved hearing about how you grew up -- that must have been some interesting childhood!

  5. Ha Ha you kind of just described me, except you said it much better than I could ever do! Love the bit about asking the person stod there for weeeks! Brilliant.

  6. faceless commentary makes one feel safe.

  7. Oh this gave me a chuckle. Another introvert here; I even hold my tongue when I hear people spouting wild inaccuracies about books and authors.

    The last time I talked to a stranger about a book was last fall, when I was waiting in a coffeeshop reading The Witches of Eastwick. A guy nearby asked something about whether it was "chick lit"--he had only seen the word "witches" in the title, I guess. I stared at him and said, "I don't think is John Updike." He got very embarrassed and we actually had a nice little conversation after that. A rarity!

  8. Ha ha, I sometimes feel as though book lovers sit at home reading so much that when they actually get the chance to go oustide (and re-fill the stock) they are so starved for human interaction that they just start babbling away about a book/author/genre/what have you, forgetting that maybe the other person isn't too interested. I mean, it's great that a random stranger likes Dostoevsky, but what is that to me? Should I invite them over for tea now? Are we BFF?

    I just never understood it, which is why I always wear ear phones in public, even when there is no music on, just so people won't talk to me. Yes, I am THAT girl.

  9. Oh, this is funny!

    Sometimes I think I'm too extroverted (I was as strongly E as you can be on Myers-Briggs), and I will talk to random people. Books especially! If I see someone on a bus or train or plane reading a book I've read or heard is good, I'll tell them so. Same goes with clerks in stores- though most often it's to compliment their earrings/scarf/etc. if I think it's pretty.

    Maybe this is a very American thing-- my family's French exchange student was a little weirded out by how chatty we all are -- but people don't hear compliments and receive smiles often enough. If I can make their day happier for even five seconds by engaging them in a light conversation, then I think that's nice!

    ...or maybe I just annoy them. Hmm.

  10. earphone without music...I have to write that down!

    No fear, I will not start babbling about books to 'real' people. I save that all for you.

    Especially since "R" is not inviting me over for tea it seems.

  11. well Maggie, my mother, whose name was also Maggie, would talk to people in public all the time. I used to say that she could fine out more about a person in five minutes at a bus stop than I would find out working at the desk next to them for five years.

    Perhaps it is something about people named Maggie.

  12. An observer introvert - like that. I like to observe and usually keep my opinions to myself, in public. Thanks for the giggles - enjoyed reading your musings. Mine is


  13. Now, Caite, how do you know the juice is a mistake? Maybe they really wanted you to have it. I hope it was good.

  14. Juice...what juice? Who said I got juice??

    Actually, Kaye is referring to a comment I made on her blog. I was to receive a copy of a book, Rubies in the Orchard, written by the woman that owns POM Wonderful, who make pomegranate juice. In very cute little bottles.

    But....before the book arrived, I received a box with 8 bottles of juice. Then I got an e-mail that said I had mistakenly been mailed the juice with another promotion. And then I got the book too.

    I already know that I will love the book..the juice has nothing to do with it. ;-)

  15. Hehe, that was a very enjoyable read - I especially like the last bit with the gaping hole...

    I'm quite talkative to strangers on my good days, and I wear earphones on my bad ones. So, I guess my answer would depend? I can usually be sucked into a conversation about books, though...

  16. It depends on what people are reading, if they're interested to talk, and most importantly, my mood. :)

  17. I don't walk up to strangers in the book store or at the library, but if it feels natural, I don't mind striking up a conversation about a book at all in any of those places :-)

  18. LOL. Great post. Introverts unite! Except that we'd all rather be alone.

  19. Mmmm...I think I'm an observer introvert too.

  20. I guess we introverts should meet in a bookstore one day :) it would be sooooooooooooo quite for a change ;)

    R I loved you earphones Idea!! I should really try it out!

  21. I love to talk about books, so I always talk to people in book stores. Well, actually, I usually talk to people wherever I go. My mother-in-law says I can talk to a wall. :/


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