My deepest apologies for the delay in part two of the series, Social Experiment - Josh Style. Due to unforeseen circumstances, I was unable to deliver part two in a timely manner. But now, the wait is over.
To refresh your memory, I set the goals for myself to reach out to five people. I wanted those connections to go beyond the casual weather and traffic conversation. To my disappointment, I was not able to do that AND follow all the rules with five people. However, I did meet all the qualifications with at least two or three people. Let me tell you about my encounters.
#1 This sweet little lady was a clerk in Walmart. I didn't get her name which is why my talk with her does not qualify. However, we had a great conversation about Black Friday. Now keep in mind, this November 18th. Black Friday was just about a week away. She was very nervous. She still was not clear on what time they were opening, what was going to happen, and the thing I found most amusing was she had reservations about how many lanes they would have open. Now if you shop at our East Town Walmart, you know we all have those same concerns every time we go, much less on the busiest shopping day of the year. That was too funny. She shared with me that since she worked in a secured area, the jewelry department, that she was not allowed to go to store meetings. You would think that the least they would do was keep her up to date. Anyway, she was not looking forward to all of the crazy people that came out on that day. I shared with her that I am normally one of those crazy people. I promised her that if I made it out this year, that I would behave! Sweet little lady! Remember you Black Friday shoppers, these people are trying to do their jobs the best they can. Show some holiday spirit during your shopping and mind your manners. Take a moment to tell them thanks for their hard work!
#2 I am on the fence about whether this next one counts or not. Apparently, I went to high school with this person and his sister. He was a couple of years younger than me. He recognized me, but for the life of me, I do not remember him. I remember his sister's name vaguely. But anyway, we had a brief conversation. He worked at the repair shop where I took my car and spent way too much money. Isn't that always the case? Anyway, he told me about his home and how his sister got a divorce. She moved in with him. He said she was a hoarder and pretty much trashed his house. He couldn't deal with it anymore, so he gave her the house and moved out. I wish I could share some pleasant things I learned, but it was really all kind of sad. They can't all be winners.
#3 My #3 was a sweet lady named Patricia. She was the owner of the shop. I really enjoyed my time with her. She shared with me how the shop was operated by her husband and father-in-law and how they had both passed. Everyone was telling her that the shop would not last without them. Boy has she proved them wrong. It has lasted and is doing very well. In the face of loss and adversity, she overcame. What a strong spirited lady. Being a mom myself, it wasn't long before our talk turned to her kids and her grand babies. We talked about how scary some of the challenges are that kids faced today. She shared with me that her biggest disappointment was when she found her son's marijuana when he was in high school. If that was the scariest thing today her grand babies were going to face she wouldn't worry so much. She told me about a Friday night tradition she shares with her girlfriends. She said every Friday night, they get together and go have Mexican food together. She said they each have one margarita and share a great meal together. Then they go next door to the dollar theater and watch a movie. They said they have that routine for several reasons. Both the Mexican food and the dollar movie are inexpensive. They can responsibly enjoy a drink and because the movie is next door, the effects of the alcohol are worn off by the time they leave the theater. Also, whether there are three or four or five or six, that time is precious to all of them. I thought that was pretty amazing. It was a pleasure to meet and learn about you, Patricia.
#4 My #4 was the stylist that cut my hair. Now I know some of you ladies are dedicated and very loyal to your stylist. Some women I know have used the same stylist for years. I pick my stylist based on convenience and price. Normally, anytime I get my hair cut, the conversation is about my hair and past experiences. I do all the talking. This time, I shut my mouth, for the most part, and listened. Her name is Denise. She is a really cool person. She is a mother of two, six and eight. She has been a stylist for 16 years. She has been with her current employer for three years. She was a little aggravated because they have a very strict policy about them working only 5 hours and 59 minutes before they take a break. They are so strict in fact, that the employees can lose their job for violations. Anyway, Denise also helps in an elementary school as a tutor under the no child left behind act. You could tell from her tone that she is very passionate about the kids she helps. She also shared with me her about her love of turtles after I noticed the turtle on top of her squirt bottle. She said she loves them so much. She has a turtle tattoo on the top of each foot, one a terrapin and the other a sea turtle. She also said that the little rubber turtle has been with her since she was in cosmetology school. She is very protective of that little turtle. She was very open and sweet and I do plan to visit her next time. Maybe she will by "my stylist."
#5 - didn't happen, sorry. I did my best.
So what did I learn from this experience? I learned that people are so willing to open up and share if you give them the opportunity. I learned that because I usually have my mouth in overdrive that I am missing out on meeting some really cool people. I also learned that as much as we think we are alone in our little worlds, that the people "out there" are not so very different from us.
I can't say that I am be able to reach out like this to so many people every day. But I can say that I will try to do it much more often than I have in the past. I challenge you to try it. You never know who you will meet or whose life you can touch by just listening. This may be especially true when so many people find themselves saddened by this upcoming holiday season. As always, thanks for reading and spending your time with me.