Never talk to strangers. From the time you can walk, your mom pounds it into your head..."Don't talk to strangers". My mom did it all the time. Everybody's parents said the same thing..."Don't talk to strangers."
Did we listen? Of course not. If we never talked to strangers, we wouldn't have had any friends. The tether ball would have only swung one way. Everybody's a stranger until you talk to them. It's how we make friends.
I blame my mom for my stomach churning dread of meeting new people. It's not so bad if it's just one person. I can be in a room with a stranger and make casual conversation...most of the time. Unless they glare fiercely at me I try to be cordial. Plus, I don't have the balls to glare back. Also, I suffer from Bitchy Resting Face so I really don't seem very approachable to begin with. Maybe that's why they glare. But that's a whole 'nudder story.
So the other day I'm at work and I have to pee. I walk down the hall, fat, dumb, and happy and right before I get to the door, I see a woman walking toward me. She seems pleasant enough and I see a bruise on her cheekbone. So I ask.."Oh, what happened to your face?"
Before you cringe, there's a reason I asked. A couple of years ago, one of my horses conked me in the head and I had a giant bruise on my face. In a building of hundreds of people, nobody asked me what happened. In fact, they would look right at the bruise and then look away really fast. Like they didn't want to know what happened. Oddly enough, after it healed, my other horse conked me in exactly the same spot. Same thing happened at work. People intentionally avoided eye contact with me. This is in a building of social worker type people. The kind you would expect to ask. But they didn't.
So I asked..."Oh, what happened to your face?"
Stranger: "It's a birthmark."
Me...cringing inside: "Oh, I thought you got conked." Really...what else was I gonna say?
I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me whole. Thank God I didn't pee my pants. Because of course I started laughing, which is what I do when I get nervous, and then I can't stop because I know I shouldn't be laughing and it makes me more nervous because I can't stop laughing. It's a vicious cycle.
So as it turns out, mom was right..."Don't talk to strangers"...it's the stoopidist thing.