A total stranger just gave me a dictionary and thesaurus. I walked out of my front door to buy bread, when this guy I've never spoken to in my life, I'd guess about 50 with a broad Dundonian accent and not very many teeth, accosted me.
Random stranger: Excuse me, pal! Me: Yes, what can I do for you? RS: Wude ye like a dictionary? Me: Um... RS: Ye see, it's my mother's, and it's jus gettin damaged around the house. Me: Er, well, if you're trying to get rid of it... RS: It's jus that ye're studious, like. [He pushes the Oxford Concise Dictionary and Oxford Thesaurus into my hands.] Me: Ah, gosh, thank you very much, that's very kind of you, thank you.
Heh, that's interesting. I would personally be worried about the reason why someone would do that. Of course it could just be what he said, but .. well I just would not take it from him, even if I needed one.
Are you in New York? New Yorkers are like this. I got given a free sample frozen pizza, included in a delivery of food from online supermarket, and I couldn't eat it, so I tried to find someone to give it away to, and I had to go all the way up to the seventh floor before anyone would accept it. It was just a freaking pizza.
Awww. I think it's that people instinctively say "no" to strangers before they've even quite realised what they're saying. It's because 90% of the strangers who come up to you are either crazy or trying to sell you something and talking to them tends to encourage them.
There's an advert here for Coke where a cheery woman walks along the street singing a song about how she loves to make people happy, and she pulls multiple bottles of Coke from her bag and hands them to strangers as she passes. The strangers accept with surprised, pleased looks.
I think it's that people instinctively say "no" to strangers This is a very good point, and I think it's a pity. It's a vicious circle because this expectation means that a lot of times, 'normal' people won't just greet strangers to be friendly. That's one of the things I really like about Dundee; on the whole, people tend to interact rather than avoid making eye contact, and lots of them are genuinely friendly.
I've been burnt once when a woman started making friendly conversation and was actually trying to distract me so she could nick my purse. I'm more annoyed by her giving me a reason to be less friendly than by the financial loss. In spite of her, though, I do tend to respond when people talk to me.
talking to them tends to encourage them It does. But I'm a compulsive chatterbox; I mean, I attempt to have conversations with ATMs, so I'm a complete sucker for people talking to me. Unless I'm in a real hurry I'll be polite to crazies and sales people and evangelists and even beggars who actually engage me personally rather than just mechanically whining 'spare any change'.
I basically like people, and I count it a grave shame that I can't be as open with strangers as I'd like, because I'm potentially endangering my personal safety. I work on the basis that talking to someone in the middle of a crowded public place probably doesn't carry too big a risk.
Also, when I was in Norwich, a woman came up behind me and tapped me on the head (!) and said, "I've never seen a girl wearing one of those before," (I was wearing my skullcap). And I turned round a bit surprised by this, and she was horribly embarrassed when she realized how 'rude' she was being. She said she was a market researcher by trade and had completely overcome her inhibitions about speaking to strangers. But she hadn't intended to make that comment out loud, at least not without introducing herself first!
Of course, she was a perfectly sweet woman and I'm rather pleased she talked to me than otherwise. I was only a little flummoxed because it's kind of difficult to explain the reasoning behind wearing a skullcap when you have no idea where the person is coming from.
I wouldn't take food from someone I don't trust, it could be poisoned! I wouldn't take random food either, but mainly because I think it's likely not to be kosher, rather than because I think it would be poisoned. It's good to be cautious, but I just can't imagine anyone handing out poisoned food to total strangers. Most murders have some kind of plausible motive!
That reminds me of purim, when we were trying to give sholoch mones to random strangers in the street. We had a heap of normal commercial chocolate (in sealed packets!) in case people thought hamentashen were too weird, and we were very drunk and in costume. We got more people hastily getting out of our way than people willing to help us eat our goodies. Silly people.
I would personally be worried about the reason why someone would do that. You may be right. But I just couldn't think of any way he could do me harm by giving me a dictionary even if his intentions were malicious. I mean, it didn't get him into my house, or me into his, or anything like that. And I don't live in a bad spy movie so it's pretty unlikely that there was a hidden weapon of assassination inside the dictionary (besides, even if this were a bad spy movie, average-looking women don't get assassinated in such movies).
It's just possible he wants to give me a sense of obligation towards him, I suppose. But I'm not too bothered by that; I do feel a sense of obligation, but only commensurate with being given an out-of-date and slightly mouldy dictionary. I would have no problem with saying no if he asks me for a big favour, and I would have no problem with saying yes if he asks me for a small favour. In fact, I'm happy to have the opportunity to do small favours for my neighbours.
I'd like to believe he was sincere, and I see no harm that could arise from my acting on this belief. Sometimes people are just decent, especially when it doesn't cost them anything.
people just hand out dictionaries just because you "look studious" I know! Isn't it just the funniest thing?!
Hope you give them a good home. I don't know. The thesaurus I probably will, but the dictionary is a bit out of date and really not in very good condition (the 'damage' that the anonymous benefactor was referring to appears to consist of the book having been kept in a damp place and got somewhat mouldy). And I don't really like the Oxford Concise; there are much better small dictionaries. So I'm thinking I may discreetly lose it at some point.
Greetings! I am completely stumped as to how you came to be reading this journal, but welcome anyway.
Are you going to treasure them? Not as much as I treasure the fact of someone being decent and giving away stuff that I'll benefit from more than him. And not following social convention which says you mustn't speak to strangers except in a dire emergency, and not being acquisitive just for the sake of hoarding stuff.
The books are nothing special; if I'd thought them seriously valuable I would probably have found an excuse to refuse them. But I'm so pleased this guy decided to act the way I wish everyone would behave but far too few people do!
what significance does 110,110 have - or do you just like the pattern of the letters? I'm afraid the latter. A Hungarian friend mentioned it to me as an example of a cool word, and I liked it so much that I had to make it my subtitle! I suppose if it piqued your interest then it's not doing too bad a job of making my journal look more exciting.
Whereas my journal is standard standard and has no "interest" value at all beyond what interest reading about other people's lives may or may not hold. Over the years I've made lots of friends over Internet connections, but mostly locally, and people I can meet in the pub at weekends. Not like this. Do you want your journal to look exciting? Why?
Do you want your journal to look exciting? Why? Hm, good question. Although I use LJ to host my site, and I really like the community functions of LJ, I'm trying in a way to use this journal at least partly as a blog, as well as just a record of what's going on in my life. So I've added myself to blogrings and other promotion systems, and generally I'm trying to draw interesting passers by into discussion.
I've written a bit more about this on my website, if you're interested.
It's something about Dundee You know, you may well be on to something. That would explain why I keep finding highly desired and not very common books for less than £1 in the most unexpected places. And you know that my bookcase was also a random present from someone who decided he didn't need it? Admittedly the person who gave me that is at least a nodding acquaintance rather than a total stranger, I've been known to invite him over for a cup of tea occasionally. But we're hardly the sort of close that would normally lead to giving eachother bookcases anywhere that wasn't Dundee.
I had truly implausible finding rare book karma for the rest of my trip after seeing you. And I didn't even take you book shopping here. Gosh!