Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sense of Curiosity.

I like to find out about people.

For instance, at dinner tonight Anita and I were sitting in an outdoor cafe in Fish Creek, WI. We met three different families. Family #1 was a husband and wife from Southern California. They were in Door County for a month of vacation, RVing it at Penisula State Park.

Family#2 lived in West Chicago. I'm guessing they were Muslim (didn't get far enough into the conversation to know for sure but the wife's head covering got me wondering). He was born and raised in Egypt. She was born in suburban Chicago. Nice kids.

Family #3 lived in San Jose, California. He was from Sturgeon Bay, WI originally. This was their annual visit back to the midwest.

I suppose to a lot of people this information doesn't amount to much. To me, asking questions and trying to find out about the people I'm around (even for an hour) helps to create a sense of community in a world that is finding itself more and more isolated.

I'm amazed at how quickly people open up and are eager to tell a complete stranger something about their life. There's something about asking questions and being eager to hear another person's story that creates a bond of good will.

Tonight was nice. I asked questions. They asked questions. That doesn't always happen. You see, the art of being inquisitive is fast becoming a lost skill. Too bad. We miss opportunities to make friends and to build bridges.

Try it next time you're out.

Find out about your waitress or bus boy. Make eye contact with the people at the table next to you. Ask them if they're local or not. See what happens.

Once in Paris in a quintessential French bistro I had a hunch that, other than the waiter and cook, no one in the restaurant was a native Parisian. So, I started asking. I was right. Two table of Chicagoans, a family from New Jersey, a couple from the deep South, and assorted Floridians and Dakotans. It was a hoot. We had a good time. It made for an even better dinner.

I think we've lost our sense of curiosity. Maybe it's because we're afraid to offend someone. I'm finding people don't get offended. In fact, just the opposite. They enjoy being included. It puts a smile on their face. Nothing wrong with that.


Deirdre said...

Now that is the way to fill gascans! I think often we see the 'needy' only in far away places, while there are plenty of lonely or just even isolated people all around us. What you described was the way of life in the south at the place and time of my youth. After I moved north I soon found out that people were surprised when you evidenced interest, some were (and still are) sometimes put off, but for the most part, people are thirsty to be seen as individuals, thirsty to share a part of themselves with a stranger. A stranger is a safe place to put your fears or your hopes...and a stranger often times can become a friend. Good for you! Wouldn't it be wonderful if your post could start a new fad of seeing the humanity in front of our noses, instead of just our noses! One small breath of courage to speak, one large step for the breath of God's love! A double amen to your post!

Mike said...


Thank you. You're right. People are thirsting to be seen, thirsting to share parts of themselves.