Every Monday, I’m picking from the List of Things to Do, Places to Go, Possible Acts that Help, and Possible Fun to Have. It’s a list I made beforeThe Project started, and I’m still adding to it. If you have suggestions, please feel free to throw them my way. I’m calling the list my Monday Dares, as I get overwhelmed just looking at the words “challenge” or “goal.”
This week: Say hello. Introduce myself. Meet people.
First things first: I’m still alive. I have all four limbs. I did not wake up in a bathtub full of ice with a note pinned to my chest advising me to call 911 because I was missing an organ.
In other words, my solo trip to New Orleans was a success. Yes, coming back from a trip with both kidneys is fucking awesome in my book.
I met a stranger at a bar my first night in town. Ravenous by the time I got to my hotel in the evening, I walked several blocks to a seafood restaurant in the French Quarter. I took the only seat left at the bar and ordered a cocktail and dinner. I tried to pretend I was endlessly fascinated by the rows of liquor at the bar so I wouldn’t look bored.
But, I was bored and I felt out of place. I mulled over how I was going to get through four days alone without a safety net of friends.
The man to my right tried to start a conversation as he paid for his check. I didn’t feel like making a new friend, so I answered him in short, one-word answers. He left without saying good-bye.
Another man tapped my shoulder and asked to sit in the seat to my left. I replied “yes” without even looking up. I stared straight ahead for most of my meal, chitchatting with the bartender. Taking the last few sips of my cocktail, I heard someone ask, “Isn’t it hot in here?”
Looking to my left, I finally made eye contact with my neighbor. A man in his early 30′s, he had wavy hair down to his chin and a friendly smile. We chatted for a few minutes…one of the first real conversations I had all day.
Turns out, Captain Chris was a river pilot and he was willing to show me around town that night. Did I say yes? Hell yes.
Of course I called Harv to tell him what I was up to and to make sure that he knew I loved him. You know, in case I ended up in a ditch.
Captain Chris gave me a walking tour of the French Quarter. We passed by some of the best strip joints in the city, drunk college kids on Bourbon Street, and a few hookers with their pimps, wanting to know if the Captain was interested in having a good time that night.
He took me to a historic hotel and we sat inside the piano bar, listening to music and drinking. He talked about piloting his stretch of the Mississippi River and his low-tolerance for women drama. I talked about pimps and my affinity for buttered croissants.
Late into the night, Captain Chris walked me back to my hotel…and saved me from a homeless fellow who proposed marriage.
His kindness towards a stranger and his willingness to reach out and say “hello” should have set the tone for the rest of the trip, but I can’t say that I followed his lead. So, this week, I’m pulling a Captain Chris.
Thanks, Captain, wherever you are.
Ever spent an evening with a stranger? Wait, not your one-night-stands.
Do you have friends that you met in random places or on trips?
image via Wildemoon shop @etsy.com