Saturday, April 01, 2006

the magic formula to make strangers talk to you

Today I must have oozed some odour of friendliness or intrigue. In Phibsboro, no less than six people had a conversation of sorts with me.

Firstly, in a charity shop (currently again experimenting with little/no tv... not voluntarily this time...) buying books a white haired man leaned over to let me know that there was another Chuck Palahniuk book that I hadn't picked up -

White Haired Man 'Excuse me - Do you want that one there?'
Me, 'no, thanks though... I've read it already'
WHM, 'was it good? do you think I should buy it?'
Me, 'well, em... (meanwhile thinking: would my dad like Chuck? would this man like Chuck?)...well, it's a bit risque (..what? risque? sounds as though it's a carry on film or something... cringe)'
WHM, 'oh, I do like a bit of risque, don't you know'
Me, 'hahaha (eek weirdo alarm ringing eek)

Then in my enthusiasm to dispense my non-wealth, on leaving the shop, I promptly expelled all change from my wallet on the ground. Rethinking my gesture of generosity, I began to scramble for the coins

Helpful man 'I'll help'
Me, 'thanks'
HM 'It's just like one cents or something'
Me, looking up, realise the HM looks down on his luck. 'Oh, that's fine, just keep it'
HM (smiling) 'Thanks'
Me 'No worries'

I amble to the cake shop where the lady behind the counter is a bit unhappy looking and our conversation was a bit non worth writing about, but hey, I'm happy as her confectionaries look nice, so I buy many of these and she places them delicately in a box. I walk back towards Tesco, and this man who is trying to I don't know, impress his mate or something says,

Impressive man 'Do you need help'
Me (daydreaming of cakes and flowers and dandelions)
IM 'I SAID DO YOU NEED HELP WITH THAT?'
Me 'Sorry?'
IM 'I COULD TAKE THOSE CAKES FOR YOU LIKE<>'
Me, 'No thanks'.

In Tesco the English lady on the till is nice and also quite the wit and says,

EL 'Aw, how kind of you, buying me cakes'
Me 'I do try to please'
EL 'You shouldn't have'
Me 'I think it's important, you know, to let you know that we shoppers are grateful for your hard work'
EL 'You're too kind'
Me 'I know'
EL, 'Aw, now you're taking them away, thought they were for me'
Me 'Bad for your figure, you'll thank me for it'

So, the secret to chats with randomers is: a. buy second hand books, b. buy cake.

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