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Pie Archive ✿ Talking to Strangers


A while back, I went to a Starbucks in Buckhead, the only seat in the whole place was next to this old man. There was a set of big leather chairs back in a corner and the two chairs were very close together. I think living in New York City you develop a built in defense mechanism, a kind of hard outer shell that enables you to ignore others and avoid eye contact. I took the seat, hard shell in place and started looking at my new Koenig book. The old man was kind of muttering to himself and moving around a little erratically. I was hoping he would just leave but then, with out warning, my shell evaporated and I turned to him, showed him one of Koenig's houses and said, "Isn't this amazing?" A huge smile appeared on his face as he squinted his eyes and looked at the page, "Why yes, isn't that just marvelous!" he replied. We ended up talking for over an hour, covering World War II, Beethoven, Tolstoy, Howard Hughes, Hassleblads and even marriage and family (or the lack there of)! 

I snapped a few images of my new friend David, with my iPhone, which I am pretty sure he was unaware of. There are many lonely old souls out there, with great stories to share, he really was very sweet and I could tell happy to have someone to talk too. Of course, it was my soul that reaped the rewards, as I continue to allow the New Yorker in me to soften under this Southern heat.

all photos & content © Lara Rossignol

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Reader Comments (4)

I love stories like these! They remind me to soften my own Big City Shell (which seems to always be prone to frustration as a first reaction). I can remember one time my boyfriend and I went down to the beach and ended up chatting with an older gentleman who was there for much the same reason we were - to soak up some Vitamin D (in the Pacific NW you gotta take it when you can get it!). He was a sailor who had a ton of great stories about the little islands just off the coast - like how one had a lighthouse whose keeper had a couple of beautiful daughters that his Navy buddies rowed out to meet one time... only to have dad crash the party. He definitely made our day, and I'm sure we made his.
August 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLysha
it's always surprising how different we can be on the outside, yet be so similar on the inside. and how many conversations do you get in your lifetime like the one you had with that lovely gentleman? such a sweet happenstance!
August 14, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersarah
Love this anecdote. I have lived in Manhattan for over 20 years and find people here are much friendlier and willing to talk to strangers than they were in the small town where I grew up. That's one of the reasons why I love the city so much.
August 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLinda
A beautiful story, with supplement of very nice photos. Yes, chatting with unknown people is always (most of times?) interesting both from human and photographic point of view.
October 7, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterrobert quiet photographer

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