I was walking “home” to my host’s house the other day. Just walking north 20 blocks with a backpack and a smile. Lately, I’ve been taking to putting on earbuds as I walk, and playing a mix of fun “theme song” music. Brightens the day. And, with the microphone attachment in new set, I can yell “Okay Google now! Call <person X>” at any time.
So I’m walking along to the beats of Broken Social Scene and happy with the brilliant blue sky tinging with pink as the sun sets. And then there are two people on the sidewalk ahead. One woman with a suitcase, and one man agitatedly next to her.
I take out my earbuds, just to make sure if everything’s alright. The man gestures over to me, has me sit down. We just hang out, I introduce myself, etc. The woman offers me her food – and after a little protest I end up sitting on the side of the road, eating delicious donated fried chicken, hearing about the lives of these two strangers. How the woman flew up to Portland to meet a man from online, only to be dumped in a bar in the middle of nowhere. How the man was addicted to drugs, and found Allah in a rehab program. A rehab program, by the way, where he met Ibrahim, the guy who would later found Portland’s amazing tent city, Right to Dream Too.
Eventually, they end up arguing and I take my leave.
I love meeting strangers.