I took Ali to Dairy Queen the other day. As we ate our Chicken Fingers and free-Dilly-Bar-with-a-Kid’s-Meal-that-Ali-found-to-be-too-cold-so-I-HAD-to-eat-it, I was within earshot of a couple of guys standing near the counter, waiting for their food.
One was a somewhat stocky and short, mid-40’s looking guy. He struck up a conversation with the taller, skinnier, younger-than-me guy, apparently starting off by saying that he looked familiar.
They introduced themselves, first and last name.
Older guy (no implication about his age intended, he was just older THAN younger guy) asks where he works. Younger Guy tells him.
Older Guy: “Ah! That must be why you look familiar. I’ve been in there before. So where did you go to school?”
And they begin this conversation, still waiting on their food. Older Guy lets forth a continual barrage of questions – ones that my scared-of-small-talk-with-strangers-self cringed at, mainly because it wasn’t a two-way conversation – Older Guy was asking the questions, and Younger Guy was answering them dutifully.
Older Guy probes and gets Younger Guy to unveil his life in detail in those few moments of Dairy-Queen-induced intimacy:
- His entire work history
- His school background (which included seminary)
- Exactly where he lived
- The denomination in which he planned on serving
- His parent’s beliefs
- How young guy went from being Baptist to Episcopalian
- All about his wife
- Where he met his wife
- What he plans on doing with his life
- What his wife plans on doing with her life
- Kids or no kids and when
- Boxers or Briefs
Okay, maybe not the last one – but all of the other ones were most definitely discussed in-depth.
All in the five minutes that they were waiting for their DQ.
Finally, as I’m sitting their dumbfounded by all of the personal information that young guy was willing to share with Older Probing Stranger Guy who could speak at least 90 questions-per-minute while NOT sharing reciprocally, THE moment happened.
Older Guy: “Well, I gotta go. But Hey! I’d like to stay in touch! Can you give me your phone number?”
Young Guy: “Uh, Sure! Hold on and I’ll write it down.”
Me: Seriously. Whhhaaaaat?!?!?!!!?
Had either one of them looked in my direction at that moment, they would have seen my jaw, having smashed through the table, sitting on The Dairy Queen’s somewhat sticky floor.
I realize that I am the world’s worst small-talker, and I realize that I hardly ever start conversations with random strangers but that some people do and that’s okay.
But. Seriously. Older Guy: This is NOT normal behavior.
And Young Guy? You could’ve totally said no to giving Older Guy your phone number, especially since he offered no reasoning, vague or otherwise, as to why he would want to call you in the future.
I was overcome by being in The Presence of Great