Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)

Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)
Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Kind Strangeness of Kind Strangers

Yesterday on the train a (slightly derailed looking) lady wearing a t-shirt with a Bible verse emblazoned on it , went around to each and every passenger trying to get a handshake.

She'd try to meet their smartphone-occupied eye, and if there was no reaction, she'd tap them on the shoulder and hold out her hand to be shaken, mumbling something quietly in the process. I was in the vestibule bit, and waited patiently for my turn. I was impressed with the impressive stats she was pulling. Out of say fifteen or twenty people in the vestibule I only saw one refusal. A middle aged lady who was angered at being pulled away from her novel.

She got to me, held out her hand and did the mumble. I didn't catch the words, but it sounded nice enough, and her smile was kind. I shook her hand, smiled and returned the just-inaudible mumble. It was a nice moment. Though I must admit, and I do so with shame,as she left and I sat staring at my newly shaken hand, the first thought that popped into my mind was 'approximately one and a half hours until I reach a tap and some soap'.


AY said...

I know *sigh* I feel bad about it, but I was thinking the same thing as I read your post. I know it's paranoia...Maybe you should do what I do and carry Dettol instant hand sanitizer gel everywhere.


KIM said...

I was going to write almost exactly the same comment as the one previous here ...! Never mind, I'll just second it.

Ben McLaughlin said...

Yes I'm going to buy me some of that gear. It'll also be good for when I've finished reading mX. I always accidentally rub my eyes with news print and get bloodshot eyes.

kristina said...

Very interesting. I wonder what was motivating her. And why the novel lady refused (maybe she was thinking the same thing about hand sanitizer).

Ben McLaughlin said...

Hey Kris- yeah, I wondered what her motivation was too. I guess the idea was, shake my hand, then read my tshirt.

Laetitia :-) said...

Hey, we're coming up to flu and colds season so it's not a completely unworthy thought, especially as by then you'd effectively be shaking hands with 15 or so people just by shaking her hand.

Ben McLaughlin said...

More like 1500.. she'd been through the entire train I reckon.

yeah, you are probably right, but sometimes I think we fuss too much about germs. Jesus hung out with lepers, I should at least shake hands with someone without freaking out!