Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Talking To Strangers

Given my past, I tend to be wary of strangers. I'm not an uber-friendly girl to begin with – I don't like chatting up strangers in the store or making small talk at the doctor's office. But especially when I'm alone, my guard goes up.

This morning, I thought I was out of stamps so I stopped at the post office near my work. It has one of those fabulous tellers that just does what I want and doesn't talk to me at all - the automated machine sort. It comes in especially handy because I'm never "out" when the actual post office is open. So I can mail packages, buy stamps and the like all in the lobby.

I quickly purchased my book of stamps and turned to an older man walking in. He looked a little confused and asked if I knew how to get priority postage with the machine. This is where my siren started going off. Didn't Ted Bundy get his victims acting like he was hurt/confused/lost/etc? Also, where was his car? I didn't see any new ones in the lot. I warily agreed to help – making sure I never fully turned my back to him. I guided him through the automated service and showed him where to put the letter when he was done.

Then he turned to me and said, "Thank you so much! I really had to get that mailed today and didn't know if I could use this thing! I really appreciate it!"

I walked out to my car and after I got in (and was For Sure safe), I watched him clean up his wrappers. A smile spread across my face.
Lesson: Don't let your street smarts talk you out of helping someone in need.

18 comments:

Brillig said...

Interesting! I don't like to be real chatty either. My husband chats with strangers so naturally, and I feel all high-pitched and awkward about it. I'm glad you help that man. I guess it's important to be balanced! I wouldn't blame you for running away screaming, though!

MommasWorld said...

Aww that was really nice of you. I am usually a chatty person and willing to joke with anyone in line with me. All that changes if I am in an unfamiliar area or if it is night. Glad he didn't mug you or anything.

by the way...I FOUND those books you asked me about. I will email them to you :-)

whiskeymarie said...

I am so totally lucky that I haven't been kidnapped and stored in a basement somewhere.
I talk to people all the time. I rarely initiate it, but I will always chat if someone else wants to (unless they are obviously stalkers/hitting on me/the kind of mental patients that aren't visibly unstable)(oh, and anyone in costume. Don't talk to them- ever- except with the rare exception of Halloween. Even then be wary...)

Worker Mommy said...

I'm a "chatter". I try to be in tune with others vibes (i.e- if they clearly have closed body language or have f off tatooed on their forehead then I won't bug them).
But yeah, I'll talk to just about anyone. (unless they give off crazy stalker serial killer vibes like WM said)

Kelly said...

I'm not a stranger talker myself. I always find it weird when people I don't know in line strike up a conversation. My husband is a stranger talker and sometimes he initiates the conversation. I wish he would stop!

Kristina said...

haha...I have the f-off tattooed on my forehead!


A little girl at soccer practice didn't pick up on the "don't talk to me" vibes I was sending off and we ended up having an interesting conversation. Apparently if you jump up and down you're waking up the devil? So that's why people don't like to jump (so says funny 6 year old I ended up really liking!)

Jodi said...

I am a stranger talker too. Unless I am in a bad mood or look like shit, which is about every day, but if I am ready for the day and semi happy I will talk to ANYBODY. However, in the day and age that we live in I think it's VERY wise to be weary of strangers, especially if you're alone, and listen to your gut. That being said I am glad you helped the old man get his package mailed off. :)

lady macleod said...

sweet story. it will come back to you.

exskindiver said...

this is a good reminder.

Goldy said...

It's sad that we have to be careful when dealing with strangers. I would love to be able to take everyone at face value. Generally I think my radar is pretty good but I worry about my wife who is the nicest person in the world and can't even image the type of horrible stuff people are capable of.

Maybe if people showed some kindness early on to the people we have to worry about they wouldn't end up the way they do.

Shauna said...

My chatty-ness depends on my mood.

Good for you to look for clues to make sure you're safe. Never can be too sure, but to be nice is also good.

Sugar Kane said...

Goldy's right. It's sad that a stranger asking for help automatically make us defensive.

When I was little we used to spend a lot of time in Texas, Florida and California. My mom always told me that 'strangers' like to kidnap little girls with blonde hair and blue eye, smuggle them across the border and sell them into slavery. She says she did this to keep me from wandering off, but it scared the hell out of me. Thanks mom.

Butrfly4404 said...

Brill- see, The Man is socially retarded like myself. We argue over who has to answer the door! haha...but I can usually count on him to take over conversation with someone we KNOW, but I still can't seem to hold one with.

M*W - I got your email, thanks!!

W*Marie - maybe you haven't been kidnapped because you weren't a little blonde haired blue eyed girl....haha, Sugar Kane...my mom told me some pretty fkd up things, too!! Like the little girl that Kristina met's mom probably did.

Haha, I was seriously going to try and work everyone's comment into that one paragraph, but The Man is calling me to get off my duff and get the day going. We only have an hour to get to the recycling center.

Goldy said...

I actually had a conversation with my wife about this post last night. I call that good blogging Butterfly.

P.s. Sugar - you have blond hair and blue eyes? I don't know why but I didn't image that.

Virtualsprite said...

How nice that you stepped out of your shell to help... I'm like that though. And then I turn around and lecture my children about talking to strangers. One of those wonderful mommy double standards, I guess.

Becki said...

I, too, am, how you say--socially retarded. Also paranoid about strangers. But I'm glad that this worked out okay. A good reminder to help when you can.

Butrfly4404 said...

Becki - I wrote a post about this phenomenon. It seems we internet types are most likely to be SR. You know, after the Dungeons and Dragons/Magic/Other Geek Game guys.

Cherann said...

I'm glad you helped him. Maybe he'll pass it forward by doing a good deed for someone that is also in need.