One of the things I miss most about my old life is the little interactions. I get them here (and will get them more when I get my shop up and running); I've actually held people up with conversations with shop ladies, and been held up in turn, and I really, really like that about Dunedin.
But it's different when you're familiar with where you are, and you don't feel like a visitor. I miss the little conversations with customers at my old work. I miss the little ones about inconsequential shit, but especially the occasional one with someone who would leave a lasting impression on me with their manner, or by saying something strange or funny or insightful or just something that I needed to hear. I miss the lady at the post shop who would greet me with "Hey, girl!", and Richie our courier who seemed to have a friend moving house every week who needed his van. I miss walking down the street and having people to wave to. It's fun knowing there might be something wonderful waiting for you in someone you don't know, or from whom you don't expect much because your tie is so weak.
My sister is a champion at making friends of strangers, and pulling out their stories. She's the one who goes out for a cigarette on her own, and when you go out to see why she's been so long, she's surrounded by people she has to introduce you to, and is convinced of what makes them special.
Two Sundays ago we went to a book launch at a local community hall for Adriaan, Vincent's parents' 84-year-old neighbour, who has laboured at and finally published his memoir, which tells of his life during the war, his emigration from Holland, where he left his heart, and his many travels and adventures. Some of his exploits are hair-raising, some heart-breaking, and all remind you that everyone has a story.
Anyway, it was reading about Lucy & Gina on the man repeller that made me think about all of this. Read it, and feel warm, and hopeful. There's life everywhere, and stories, and the potential to be that awesome old lady yelling to people she can't see properly from a stoop. Just gotta live long enough.