Friday, 25 January 2013


Today while in conversation with friends outside college we were approached by a middle aged man with an African sounding accent. He began to tell us about a friend of his with a broken leg and a medicine man who offered them a special cure. My leg is broken so we couldn't help listening, surprised as we were at the stranger approaching and joining our chat. He said that the medicine man told him a surefire cure for a broken leg was to lie down and let a friend jump on the affected limb. We were stunned into silence for a brief moment, until one of the boys said 'Right Kat, lie down then!'! When I told the man I had only a week left in the cast he said perhaps it would be best to just wait it out. He then wandered merrily off into the rain leaving us feeling...surreal, and slightly giddy with the shock! We half expected him to disappear mysteriously into the evening...
This is the first time a strange person has come up and joined in conversation with me...if i were to pick the strangest it would have to be the windswept, bespectacled man who joined our conversation about corsets. I was in a play where my role was that of a Russian dominatrix and i was explaining how difficult it was to cossack dance wearing a tight under-bust corset (yes really). The man, who'd been smoking near our bench, joined in without us having noticed him appear. He recounted for us the first time he saw the 'Rocky Horror Picture Show' and went on to tell us all about what a fanatic of it he was and several tales of him wandering around Dublin city in heels and a that was truly surreal. What was more worrying that i actually really enjoyed the encounter and the conversation...I think he may now be my friend...
Now not all random encounters are funny or interesting...some of them are deeply uncomfortable and slightly scary...I once got in an elevator in a dark and creepy carpark where an Indian man with the most bulbous eyes I have ever seen called me Jill (the name on my Arabic necklace) and continued to tell me how i was a 'stunning Irish flower'...he didn't get out on his floor and stayed with me the whole way up. When i got out he told me how much he hoped we could 'do this again sometime' .....*shudder*.
The scariest encounter I've ever had with a stranger coming to chat to me was in Dalkey. The infamous 'crazy ted', the town drunk, was  at the dart station shouting, wildly gesticulating and generally making the otherwise schoolgirl/old biddy dominated population  feel nervous. My pal Róisín decided to engage him in a very loud conversation about how we need to 'stick to the man' and 'fuck the haters'. He even sat with us...he sat on my coat effectively preventing me from any possible escape from triple threat of his stench, his gesticulating limbs and the fine spittle he projected with every curse word.
Luckily I have had largely positive experiences with strangers and the beauty of being Irish is that there are plenty of randomers willing to engage in conversation! Every day is an opportunity for an adventure into the surreal world of strangers and I have a feeling that one day I will be that odd person who talks to young'uns so I might as well get my inspiration somewhere!

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