Social Question

Just_Justine's avatar

Have you ever met a totally intriguing stranger?

Asked by Just_Justine (6486points) March 9th, 2010

I am always out and about as the café scene is my thing. You know great coffee, cigars, chat, and chill music? I frequent a few of those that allow smoking (I know bad)... But not my point. I had always noticed this “grey haired guy” around the same cafes as me. He seemed very withdrawn and smoked almost compulsively. His hair is wild and grey and he sits very straight. My first thought was “he is poor, not well dressed and an obsessive compulsive disordered person”.

Well tonight we started chatting and he shared that he was a professor. He loved philosophy and studied it at University, but also took maths, Latin and Greek (classics). He took a degree in maths to better understand philosophy.

He told me he loved poetry because a few lines of a poem can change your whole life, it can create a pillar of strength to carry you through life and recited a few lines that he used often to get through difficult times. I just found it amazing in terms of how I first thought of him and my first impressions. Have you had any similar experiences I would love to hear?

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51 Answers

Vunessuh's avatar

Yeah. I think most of them are serial killers.

Jude's avatar

Often, yes. I love meeting new and interesting peeps. I find (most) eccentrics to be cool and intriguing characters. I’m a good judge of character, and if they give me the creepy vibe, I move the hell along.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Yes.Last summer I danced with a older gentleman to a Frank Sinatra song in a dump of a beachtown bar.He was intriguing.

partyparty's avatar

I have a friend who is exactly like the person you describe – and he is a professor. He has a fabulous house, buckets of money and drives a fantastic car.
However, when he turns up at my home, he will either have a pair of trousers on with the hem coming down, or a jumper with a hole in it. I don’t think he even notices. We have even been out to dinner with him, and he would be wearing a shirt which hadn’t been ironed.
I just love him for his eccentricities.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I’m always talking to strangers, and sometimes you run into some really surprising people. Of course,with my luck one will probably be a serial killer, but thats life. If you take a chance you just might come across somebody interesting.

partyparty's avatar

@jjmah Yes I love eccentrics also. There is something special about them, don’t you think?

davidbetterman's avatar

Watch your back…

Just_Justine's avatar

@davidbetterman what on earth for? gosh the whole spirit of the question has been lost amidst the paranoid of serial killer. I could be one you know, and he might need to watch his back.

CMaz's avatar

Every day. Everyone has some form of intrigue.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Most people are intriguing, both strangers and those that you think you know well. That’s only limited, I think, by our own disability or disinclination to be intrigued or to learn about them. Are you seriously just getting around to discovering this?

davidbetterman's avatar

@Just_Justine I was just kidding. I was going to say something about cereal killers too! People are just too danged paranoid these days. I know many professors from different Universities who were very good communicators, and quite fun to discuss different ideas with.

ucme's avatar

Yes. 18yrs ago the woman who was to be my wife.I’ve been intrigued by her ever since.

wundayatta's avatar

I’m sure I’ve met at least a dozen in my life, but I never did anything to follow up.

Then again, I find a lot of people intriguing. Once in a while someone finds me intriguing, but not at a cafe.

Just_Justine's avatar

@CyanoticWasp I find most people to be predictable, stereotypical by choice, boring for the most part, outwardly flaunting what they are (as opposed to him), pseudo intellectual, or brash amongst other things. My main surprise was my misjudgement of him. My main focus of the question was to hear other interesting meetings of people you thought were one way but turned out completely different. I find VERY few people intriguing

josie's avatar

Fell in love with one.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@Just_Justine I suspect then that you’re just not really looking at people beyond your own preconception of what or who they are. (That’s not an attack; I think most of us do it most of the time. I’m guilty more often than not.)

You even admitted it in your question. You had an idea of who and what he was… and then you started talking and learned otherwise. How many other people have you made snap judgments of… and not followed up with a conversation?

The fact that you find very few people intriguing is not a condemnation of them, I think… you can finish the thought.

Just_Justine's avatar

@CyanoticWasp agreed. That was the main point of my question. Preconceived ideas of people.

SeventhSense's avatar

@Just_Justine
You sound like an intriguing character yourself betty boop. I’ll be happy to share a Partagas over a cup of spiced tea in Cairo next time i’m in town.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Just_Justine I think a little of that may be to do with the amount of info we deal with every day. So much comes at us, we tend to prejudge things just to handle the total load

wilma's avatar

Yes, I have.
I’m quite a shy person, and conversing doesn’t always come easily for me.
When I do sort of make a connection with some one and get to know him or her I think oftentimes they are as surprised about me, as I am intrigued about them.

Cruiser's avatar

I like meeting really happy people I mean happy as in nothing could ever bring them down happy. Once a year I work with a young lady who is my liason with a ecology group that sponsors a river clean up project I run and she is just so relaxed and happy with life. We have great conversations that always leaves me feeling with a renewed sense of appreciation for life and the people who make mine special.

snowberry's avatar

People have repeatedly told me I am very eccentric. I don’t feel eccentric. I am normal, for me. But I sure know I have different habits than most other folks.

To me, everyone is interesting, if you dig deep enough. It’s the pre-judging that hangs you up every time.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

I think it’s awesome that you were at a cafe and actually made the effort to meet someone when so many people at cafes bring their laptop and associate only with disembodied textual representations of people while totally ignoring the real people sitting in their immediate vicinity.

stardust's avatar

Oh yes, I’ve met some intriguing characters, especially over the last year or two. I usually try to chat to as many people as I can when I’m out and about. I love eccentric characters.
I love your story. I agree with everything @Captain_Fantasy said

escapedone7's avatar

I have met many people that blew me away and intrigued me to death. One was an artist. I went to an art gallery in a town about an hour away from where I live.

The artist was there for the opening of the exhibition. I was beholding his handiwork, which was quite good. I became very uncomfortable when I realized he was studying me even more closely than I was studying the paintings. I felt like a bug under a microscope. I never had anyone study me so openly and unabashedly. His eyes drilled holes in me. I felt like he could see my insides. I tried to not look back at him but I felt like squirming and definitely was blushing. I felt kind of naked being looked at so long and hard and thought it was unsettling and rude.

I finally tried to break the awkward staring by asking him some things, particularly about his poetry he had written in calligraphy imposed onto his painting. I learned he was in Mensa, played saxophone, wrote for magazines, and many other things. I also found out he sort of knew my brother from some common organization they belonged to. When I asked if he was married and he said yes, that was the end of any thoughts on my part about him. I don’t know if it was because of my youth, but I thought he must be another guy after only one thing.

Later he tried to contact me through my brother and then through my father. He didn’t know where I lived. I asked my family not to give him any information. I simply said “He’s married.” I don’t know why I immediately thought he was a pervert or thought his long hard staring was lewd.

Later he finally made it clear he just wanted to paint me, not rape me. The steady intense gaze was simply an artists eye, and I misinterpreted it completely. I am way way too shy to be an art model though, and politely declined. I felt bad I immediately thought he was a pervert looking to cheat or something. I jumped to such an awful conclusion.

Just_Justine's avatar

@escapedone7 what a wonderful experience. You also write beautifully by the way. Do you write? I loved that thank you. I felt you really understood my head space.

escapedone7's avatar

@Just_Justine Why thank you. I only write here and in my private journal. I would love to write more though. Maybe someday. I wanted at one time to write my memoirs but decided it would be an invasion of privacy to people I care about and share life experiences with.

Fyrius's avatar

All the time.

I like stranger chat. It’s a bit like dialling a wrong number and talking to them anyway, except both parties do it on purpose.
Admittedly most other people who like stranger chat are shallow tossers or perverts or perverted shallow tossers, but every once in a while you get to talk to really interesting people. I have 50 saved chat logs here of chats with various fascinating strangers around the world.

Of course, the main challenge is to be a fascinating stranger. :P

Just_Justine's avatar

@Fyrius well you sound like one to me!

nope's avatar

I met a very interesting older doctor when sitting at a bar with friends watching the Olympics several weeks ago. We struck up a nice conversation for a while…then I stuck my friends with my bill as I fled the bar, after he put his hand on my thigh.

thriftymaid's avatar

Yes. He’s no longer a stranger.

SeventhSense's avatar

@Just_Justine
Someday I’ll follow the Spice Route. Throw caution to the wind and maybe toss some trinkets in a truck to trade with hostile Bedouins along the way.

Nially_Bob's avatar

Very regularly. It is one of my odder habits to converse with strangers spontaneously (I am notorious at atleast seven different bus stops) and this has led to various fascinating encounters. From petty criminals to philosophers, there’s a sea of individuals to meet and i’m too easily intrigued to disregard them.

One of my more (likely most) bizarre examples is when I met a person who was in the process of building up enough courage to commit suicide. It was about 5am, I was walking back from a friends and I met her on a bridge that wasn’t regularly crossed, she was about 18, slightly older than me at the time, quite tall, long brown hair and an outwards attitude that curiously displayed a lack of care of my presence in spite of the situation. We talked for hours. She was a fascinating character. Her life had left much to be desired but as a result her perspectives on many matters were incredibly rational yet consistently unconventional. I hadn’t felt so stimulated in some time as I had when speaking with her. Eventually we went our seperate ways and would go on to hear nothing further of one another. The especially strange element of this experience, aside from the obvious quirks of the scenario, is that at no point did we discuss her desire to die in any extensive way. She made it clear that such was her desire but beyond that it was not dissimilar to two like-minded people sitting at a park bench and striking up a conversation.

OpryLeigh's avatar

Yes, I was about 17 years old and aving a small holiday in Cornwall. This beautiful man was looking at me all evening and he eventually came over, told me he thought I was beautiful and then disappeared. I thought about him for a long time after that night.

SeventhSense's avatar

@Leanne1986
Maybe he was an angel.

FutureMemory's avatar

@partyparty and he would be wearing a shirt which hadn’t been ironed.

I don’t even own an iron.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Sure did! Years ago I was in a nightclub with a few friends and was drawn to a person who kept smiling at me all night. I walked upstairs to see if the person would follow and engage me and they did. What I got was a name and a look that told me I’d be with this person if I chose so I took their hand and we were together from that night on for about 4yrs.

partyparty's avatar

@FutureMemory No iron ?!!!!! I can’t imagine how you can possibly manage not owning an iron LOLL

SeventhSense's avatar

@partyparty
Maybe he only wears synthetics.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@SeventhSense I never thought of it like that but why would an angel just show up like that with no other message than “I think you’re beautiful”?

SeventhSense's avatar

@Leanne1986
Maybe you just needed to hear it.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@Leanne1986 well, if they live forever then they must occasionally be bored out of their minds, no? Especially if they never sleep, either.

jazmina88's avatar

I tend to hang with musicians and artists. They are intriguing. and last year I met this shaman at a conference, soft spoken. A day later, making out with him in his crystal booth. he is an amazing man. hope to see him again soon.

SeventhSense's avatar

@jazmina88
Nice angle…I got to get me some of those magnets crystals.

NicoleSochacki's avatar

I was camping through Washington State and Oregon with my best friend/love of my life and his little sister. We pulled off the highway and decided to camp out on one of the many camping sites off the road. The only other camper there was across the gravel from us. We built a fire, had some dinner and sure enough he wandered over to us. He introduced himself as Sherman Alexie and began to tell us his story, an author/poet affiliated with UCLA, his kids, his worries and also his desire to score some weed or shrooms, of which we had none. He then became agitated and paranoid, asking us about our plans, where we were from and why were we acting the way we were. (I guess our movements at fireside and the things we said upset him) He left mumbling, and a few weeks later when we finally found an internet cafe I looked up Sherman Alexie and found that his story lined up. But guy who we met at camp looked nothing like Alexie’s picture. I was intrigued by how I could genuinely engage in conversation with a person and find out that everything about them was completely false. I wanted to know the guy’s real story, why he was there all alone that night.

Violet's avatar

Yes! When a few years ago, I was having a cigarette outside of a coffee shop, and sitting next to a woman about my age. I don’t know how the subject came up, but she was telling me how she was studying anti-matter, and she did her best to explain to me what it was, and how it worked.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

2 years ago, I was spending a lot of time in a virtual world web site called Second Life. This is a place where everyone makes their avatar look like a god or goddess and hides behind whatever persona they want to project.

One time after logging in, I happened upon a male avatar that was crafted to look like himself, in addition to wearing a dunce cap and Groucho Marx attire. He was unlike any other SL character: sincere, open, caring and witty. A year later, we became engaged. I am now in the process of moving to his country.

dami's avatar

I’ve met many intriguing strangers online. Can’t say I’ve met many in person. There was this one guy at the movies who seemed high. He was pretty funny. Lol

dami's avatar

@partyparty I see that a lot. Sometimes some of the richest people aren’t as fashion forward as we expect them to be to have all that money! I guess it all ties in with personality. Some people are just more modest.

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