Saturday I was at my friend’s wedding. The last of the single friends in my life, he is now gone with ball and chain. Actually, she’s really nice and the two have been living together for at least a year now. Very little will change.
On that night they did the bouquet toss. Then they did the guarder toss. I don’t know how, but I ended up with the guarder. As the groom was to throw it over his head, the exact opposite direction of where I was, it slipped (or something) and landed right in front of him. Snatched it up. Victory was mine. I’m very competitive in the “who’s getting married next” area. Since I’m the only one not married, I’m not entirely sure my rush here.
Then something horribly awkward happened. They the woman who caught the bouquet and the guy who caught the guarder dance. I figured might as well make the most of it.
First, I don’t do small talk. I don’t care what the weather is looking like tomorrow, how my sport’s team is doing, or if traffic was bad. I don’t trust the weather man, I only care about my fantasy team, and traffic sucks in Milwaukee because every major road is under major construction. This is not an estimate or a hyperbole. This is fact. But it’s also off point.
We talked, I found out she went to school for teaching, was teaching autistic children, and did a bunch of other really nice things for the human race. She still liked money and did things to further her financial pursuits, but I’ve done this as well. In the end, for three minutes, I saw a shining light in humanity. I didn’t learn what the weather was like the next day.
Unfortunately she was with a guy. She didn’t need to tell me, I’m a bit observant on this fact. My friend’s wife informed me as long as there’s no ring, go for it. I’m generally above this. I also have a date tomorrow, so why muddy the water with too many fish.
We spend a lot of time on small talk. We don’t want to get to the meat. Often when meeting a new person, if it will be brief, we just shrug them off. I was in Guatemala, talking to the leader of the other team (a youth team, I think all high school). His response when I introduced myself at lunch the first day was “Another name to forget.” I made sure every day to talk to him and call him by name. Every. Day. And from him I learned a lot. They were in the same program we were, but had moved past building houses. The village council would say what they needed, and the church would decide what was done based on financial resources and what would accomplish the goal of aiding the community.
I learned a lot and gained numerous ideas of where we could go in probably an hour to an hour and a half of conversation. Difficult and hurtful conversation, but useful.
Let your light shine. Interact with people. Don’t discount them and toss them aside. Don’t waste your time on the weather (unless you’re a meteorologist, people pay you to get it wrong), don’t talk a bunch on sports (unless you’re actually into it, then go at it), and don’t worry about traffic (because it sucks no matter who you ask). Get to know the person, get to know what their purpose is, and find inspiration and ideas from that. This is why I try to treat even small encounters with people like I’m dealing with the most important person in the world. I never know, going into it, just how important that person is to the world. Often times, they don’t either.