I Had One Of The Best Conversations I've Had In Months Last Night With A Total Stranger
Do you ever have conversations with complete strangers? Do you agree that those can sometimes be the best conversations?
Last night I was on my balcony smoking (I know, I know, I’m working on it) and a man walked through the alley behind my building with a bunch of his belongings and sort of settled in under the balcony beside mine to get out of the snow for a bit. I live near the Sheldon Chumir Centre so there’s a pretty sizeable homeless population in my area at all times, which never bothers me. He didn’t see me at first, but I’m on the 2nd floor and we were within really close proximity to each other and it felt a little weird to not acknowledge him. So I said hi and mentioned something stupid about the weather. It broke my heart because the first thing he said back to me was “Sorry, I’ll be on my way shortly” because I think he assumed I was trying to get him to leave the area around my building. I imagine he’s been asked to leave a lot of places in his life. I told him he didn’t have to go, and it’s cold out so he should stay under the cover of the balcony to warm up for a bit. I asked if he smoked and he said yes so I tossed him a cigarette and we had a smoke together and chatted about nothing. He told me a bit about his life, which was sort of a sad tale as he didn’t seem too much older than me but it was clear he had been through a lot. He wasn’t looking for sympathy, just being honest with me. I felt like he hadn’t spoken to another human being all day and just needed to chat so I stood there and happily listened to him talk for a bit.
It might have been one of the best, most enjoyable interactions I’ve had in months. Eventually I had to go back inside but asked him if he needed anything to stay warm for the night and he mentioned that he didn’t get a chance to get himself some gloves during the day so I tossed him a pair and a couple more cigarettes for the night and headed back inside. I never even caught his name, which I regret, but I’m so glad I got a chance to have such a nice conversation with a total stranger. The major difference was this: I was having the conversation from the security and warmth of my apartment balcony. He was having the conversation from under someone else’s balcony with all of his belongings in a garbage bag trying to stay out of the snow. That man is someone’s son, someone’s friend, maybe someone’s brother, maybe someone’s father. We weren’t very different as human beings, but our circumstances were very different. I went to bed feeling extremely grateful for the life I have and the conditions in my life that have brought me to this point, where I can be safe and warm with my pets in my apartment. I’m an incredibly fortunate person and I’m not going to take it for granted anymore.
Anyways, as the weather gets colder in Calgary and life continues to kick everyone’s ass, it might be beneficial for all of us to remember kindness as we move throughout our daily lives. I don’t know if the conversation I had with that man affected him nearly as much as it affected me, but I can tell you with absolute certainty that I greatly benefited from it and I highly recommend having more conversations with strangers. You never know what you can learn from someone, and you might walk away with material to help you reflect on, as well as a lot more gratitude for your life.
Love you guys. Be kind. - Krys