I really enjoy meeting new people. Like, a lot. I enjoy opening conversations with random strangers (and that, kids, is how I found out that the government is monitoring my facebook for evidence of alien interaction). My trip to the east coast was wonderful, partially because travel and college, but mainly because I talked to a lot of random people. So now I’m going to profile them.
Name: Plane Guy
Description: A loud man wearing a bowtie who wanted the entire plane to know that he and his girlfriend were listening to Amy Winehouse.
What we talked about: Apparently, riding in planes was much more fun ten years ago. Once, when he and his buddies were flying from Yale to Miami for spring break, they got six rows of the plane shit-faced drunk. It was amazing. He wanted to repeat the experience, but plane alcohol is so expensive now…
Name: Uninspired Taxi Driver
Description: A depressed man from India
What we talked about: Upon landing in Philidelphia, my dad and I took a cab to our hotel. We asked the driver what the city’s perks were. He responded “well, it’s an hour an a half from New York, and an hour and half from DC”. When a city’s best aspect is its proximity to other cities, you know it’s a red flag. He suggested we see the Liberty Bell, and my dad joked “Yeah, but it’s got a crack. Sounds pretty useless.” “Like me,” the cab driver muttered.
Name: Knowledgable Parade Man
Description: a short, fat old man who lived in New York, he moved from Iran in his youth, and was an authority on all things Persian
What we talked about: My dad and I were walking from Penn Station to Grand Central Station in New York and wondered why there were so many Italian flags. We were corrected: they were Iranian flags. The occasion was the Persian Parade 2014, so we stayed to watch. It just so happened that the man standing next to me was an editor of the Encyclopaedia Iranica, and he explained the symbolism of all the floats to me. It was extremely interesting, especially since I’m reading a book set in ancient Persia.
Name: Awesome Woman on the Train
Description: Hands down one of the funniest people I’ve ever met
What we talked about: We talked nonstop for nearly an hour. She is self-publishing her novel, which is about a woman named Mah’lissa and her gang-affiliated friends. You can find it on Wattpad, an iPhone app. It’s actually a really addicting read that I recommend. At some point, we started talking about caskets, and how you can buy them in Costco. We decided to start a burger chain where each purchase you make earns you so many “casket points”, for instance you earn a thousandth of an inch or so with each burger you buy. Because as long as you’re killing yourself with fast food, you might as well make an investment in your funeral.
Name (s): Bar Psychologists
Description: A social worker and a psychologist who give joint talks to police and prison guards about prisoner psychology.
What we talked about: As we all ought to know, America has a huge incarceration problem (in this video, Hank Green explains it very concisely). These two men were doing their part to address it by giving a talk to law enforcement officers. They’ve compiled research together on how to assess whether a criminal (say a rapist) will do a crime again upon release. I learned a lot about mass incarceration that I didn’t already know, and about what they’re doing to help.