I like to chat to strangers – in a coffee bar, on the London Underground, in pubs, anywhere. On the whole people are willing to chat if you make the first move and are non-threatening.
Like yesterday, coming home on the Northern Line, there were two African women with a dozen shopping bags between them. I smiled and said I bet your both very happy. Why do you say that one replied. So I told them the story about a woman’s happiness, when shopping, can be ascertained by the number of shopping bags they have amassed. Peels of laughter as I would expect from someone from Africa.
The lady I talked to was a television journalist from Lagos of the Yuraba tribe. As I knew a bit about the Yuraba tribe’s customs, we chatted for quite a few stops. When the journalist realised I was from South Africa the conversation switched to Zuma. When I said I thought he would be voted in as President, a white girl opposite got very agitated and said she hoped not. Another South African! We’re everywhere I thought.
One nice thing is that Africans talk with each other readily. I find that as long as I mention I am from South Africa they will chat and laugh with me. Until then they are often cautious and non-commital.
I have an Afrikaans song as my ring tone. It is called De La Rey and is about a Boer War general. When it rings in public there is always someone nearby who smiles and comes over for a chat after my call has terminated. As I said, we’re everywhere!
Try a ring tone that identifies you, something to encourage others to talk to you. You never know, you may make a friend or acquaintance.
Anyone who declares they have enough friends truly doesn’t understand the true meaning of the word “friend”. Most people confuse the word with “Acquaintance”. How do you know whether someone is a friend or an acquaintance? Ask yourself a question, would you empty your bank account to bail them out? Would you stand by them if someone was attacking them? Would you die for them? These would be friends.
Anyway the Yuraba journalist and I actually exchanged business cards and I shall email her in Nigeria and perhaps she will become yet another acquaintance. I am already thinking of putting her in touch with another African journalist I know on Talk Radio in Johannesburg. I met him when I covered the launch of “The Jury Team”. He was also covering it as Sir Paul Judge was a director of a South African company amongst his many directorships.
I like people, and I am always very happy when I can put one of my acquaintances in touch with another. To me, it’s what makes the world go around.