There are things that happen that in life are so out of the ‘norm’ that you really have to document them before they disappear into the vortex that is your past; ephemeral and on the edge of your memory, almost as if they were way to weird to have been true. This has been one of those moments…
I flew from Melbourne to Sydney on Wednesday. It was uneventful at that time, but I should already have been in New South Wales that day, having had my flight cancelled the evening before due to unseasonable (and frankly, unreasonable) fog. Given that I was meant to be in a meeting at 10am and didn’t actually touch down in Sydney till 12.30 I ended up with a couple of hours to kill before the rescheduled meeting could occur at 2.30. (There’s the context, it’s probably too much detail really, but to perserve my memory, there it is.)
I went to Starbucks to wait. (I KNOW, sorry, it really was awful, the coffee is ghastly, and I still can’t believe there were as many people in there as there were. But hey, free wifi.)
So, I unpacked the laptop for half an hour to get a bit of prep done for the meeting and as I worked, was generally in my own little world as I usually am when I’m head down over the computer. (Stay with me, it’s about to get good).
When I was done with what I needed to do, I started to pack up my kit ready to head around the corner to my meeting and as I did, I was approached from the left by a not unattractive guy who said, “I just had to stop and tell you, you’re stunning!”
My internal reaction was… “Is he trying to distract me, do I now need to go and change all my passwords, is he standing here cloning my laptop, is my wallet safe, did I log into anything that needs protecting while I was on open wifi?” and so on. What I did, of course, so as not to appear rude, and so as to ‘live in the moment’, was reach out my hand to shake his and say, “Hi, I’m Dee, nice to meet you.”
We chatted a bit, and while I wasn’t in a big hurry I was mindful of time, so he asked where I was off to. I told him, and before we moved away he wrote down his number for me on a discarded receipt. I, again in the moment, wrote down my web site’s address so he could find me if he wished.
As I moved away, he asked if he could walk me to where I was going, I assented, and we chatted companionably along the way, and when we got near my destination, we said goodbye and he going one way while I the other, I walked up the street to the office rather bemused by what had just occurred.
I conducted my meeting, travelled across town to my destination for the evening, stopped to catch up with my host and have a good laugh about the events of the day, and then checked my email to find that he’d reached out through my website to connect almost as soon has he’d got back to the office!
The events of the next couple of days unfolded slowly, I have had the busiest time on this trip, going from north to south and back again across Sydney, (if you’ve spent ANY time here at all you’ll know that doing so is never a straightforward thing), and in the end when we did try to co-ordinate a meeting, the planets and our timetables just didn’t align. The scheduling discussion then devolved into a long and completely flattering text conversation that left me feeling both delighted, if a little sceptical.
In the days since there’s been no ensuing contact, just in case you were wondering if this was going to turn into a scene from one of those hopelessly romantic movies. I am now back in Victoria with a cracking story and a saucy text conversation to look back on to remind me that such things actually can happen from time to time.
The whole situation got me to thinking about what exactly IS the norm? This brief exchange has certainly been outside my norms. Having spent so many years inside a culture where such a thing never occurs it’s been a refreshing experience. But I’m curious to hear from my readers, particularly those who don’t live in an insulated (i.e. religious) culture; if you have one, what’s your outrageous pickup story? And, for those of us playing along at home, how did it end?