This week, I attended the AcademyHealth meetings in New Orleans. Spent a surprising amount of time doing Twitter selfies with long-distance friends I see a few times a year.
I met some interesting strangers, too. Fast Freddie (shown above) charged me $10 for a shoe shine. That was kindof ridiculous, but he let me take his picture. I got the better end of that deal.
On the way home, I grabbed dinner with some time to kill at the New Orleans airport. Of course I avoided the authentic local cuisine–because who wants that. I headed straight to Subway.*
One table was located near the precious electronic outlet. One problem: A man was already sitting there. I asked if I could join him. He said sure. Chris Finch is a member of the coaching staff of the New Orleans Pelicans. We had a fascinating conversation about the NBA life: a few players he admires across the league, what makes for selfish play at both ends of the floor, how the NBA game differs from college. He’s just a really smart and engaging person.
The world is filled with wonderful strangers who cross our paths without without engagement in our lonely crowd. Research by my University of Chicago colleague Nick Epley suggests that we should talk more with interesting strangers who come our way in life. He’s right. We’d be happier if we could fix that.
*Since you are wondering: toasted 6-inch roast beef with provolone, spinach, and pickles.