I decided to go out late last night and shoot hoops. It was only me and my basketball out on the courts. I had forgotten how peaceful that feeling was (I used to be quite a decent player).
It was getting dark when two college-age women, both dressed nicely, walked by and started using the swings. I found myself wondering what they were like. They were already relaxing in a park and swinging, an activity I enjoy myself. Maybe they were shy like me, or gamers. Or maybe there was something unique and interesting about them that would make me smile to learn. What if they were wondering if there was something unique about me, the guy in the red bandana. Would they be surprised to learn that I’m quiet, or that I’m educated, or that I sing opera? I spent the next twenty minutes wanting to go over and say hello (and hoping they would come over to me), but I never did.
It soon got too dark to play, so I packed up and walked past them on the way to my car. I waved and kept walking.
As I drove off, I could see that the women had left the park. I wondered if they had been waiting for me to come over. Had they been wondering if I was like them for the whole time?
On the drive home I thought about why I hadn’t done what I wanted. Perhaps they would have found a stranger approaching them to be creepy. That was the only reason I could think of. I recalled an axiom that has been very true of my life so far: that I’ve always regretted the things I didn’t do much more than the things I’ve done. I wish I had gone and talked to them, and I think I’ll spend the next week talking to one stranger a day just to see how it turns out.
Would you have gone and spoken to them? Would it have been appropriate for me to do so?