Buns is not fond of baggy shorts. In fact, she will, on occasion and completely without warning, reach out and give my waistband a sudden boost. It’s ok. I’m used to it.
Buns does her pants-lift maneuver almost without forethought. I’m just waiting for her to accost some total stranger. She once pulled a similar stunt when she grabbed a stranger’s hand, thinking it was mine. When, or if, she pulls an unrehearsed pants-lift maneuver on an unsuspecting stranger, I have no plan to defend her. I figure he’ll bring her back.
The other day we met a long-time friend and his flying buddy at the airport. The two pilots are type-rated to fly just about anything with wings. A strong weather system had presented them with an opportunity to enjoy an unplanned pit stop that included lunch with Buns and I.
As they walked ahead of us to the car, I should have been thinking about how cool it was to be having lunch with these two legends of aviation. Instead I noticed their pants seemed a little baggy and I couldn’t help but wonder if we were in danger of Buns pulling her pants trick. Thank god, she didn’t.
That’s the thing about people. You can never know what they are thinking or exactly what were the circumstances that brought them to you.
Over the past few years I have made it a habit of drawing total strangers into conversation. They’ve never failed to surprise me. And the funny thing is it seems the total strangers will tell you things you would not believe. You just have to be willing to ask difficult questions. I’ve had total strangers admit to criminal activity and all manners of bizarre behavior.
As it turns out, total strangers can easily become perfect strangers. Perfect strangers are people you really would in like to meet if you could know for sure that they would be interesting and if you could meet without risk of rejection.
And teenagers? OMG!
Teenagers are the ultimate in social rejection but even they can be approached if you remember that the bigger half of communication is listening.
One early morning our son called to check why his mom and I had failed to show up at the gym. There was one other thing and he got right to it. “Dad! Do you know what happened 35 years ago today?” If looked like we were about to continue a very old conversation. Thirty-five years ago he was being prepped for surgery to correct a minor defect in one of his legs. Maybe minor is not quite adequate. It may have been minor to everyone, except him. Now 35 years after the fact the conversation finally came full circle as he tearfully said, “Thanks, mom and dad. That changed my life.”
Just before lunch the other day our phone rang and it was Jack, a good friend that calls at least once a week to see how me and Mr. Parkinson’s are getting along. Jack was the founder of one of the country’s biggest ad agencies, and now lives on an island where he sells Tiger Nuts to health food stores and YouTube customers… while sitting on his beach! (I doubt Buns would need to elevate his drawers!)
People are just so darned interesting. They always have a story that is far beyond the obvious. Two pilots who can fly just about anything. A young man who is wise beyond his years. And a visionary marketing entrepreneur who traded the executive suite of a Manhattan skyscraper to live a different life.
Each has a story, an interesting, maybe even exciting story. But it is a story likely to remain untold… unless you ask.
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