In praise of talking to strangers

Since last we spoke, I have been on several small vacations and I have also had a birthday. One or the other of these things seems to have addled my brain as evidenced by the fact that the first time I left the apartment upon my return, I promptly locked myself out. Then, upon my return to work on Monday I saw on my work calendar that I was meant to be going to a Shawn Colvin concert that night. A concert that, at the time I bought the ticket, I had been quite excited about. Also a concert that I had not remembered was taking place. At all. No matter. The venue is not far from my home, and I had no other fixed plans, so it was fine. I congratulated myself for not having missed it and for not having wasted thirty bucks. Woo hoo and hooray for calendars.

I presented my ID at the will call window and was handed my tickets. Plural. I stared at them for quite a while perplexed. Was one a receipt? Was one an error? It slowly dawned on me that months ago when I was excited about this outing I no doubt also thought, "Well, I won't want to go by myself. I will employ amazing foresight and purchase TWO tickets." I may have even been so bold as to think, "Well, I currently have a boyfriend. Perhaps I will STILL have a boyfriend in two months." Bah ha ha ha. So there I was, standing in the lobby, clutching my two tickets, waving goodbye to thirty bucks after all, and, in general, feeling like a big, capital "L" Loser.

Seating at this venue is in groups of four chairs around little cocktail tables. What with my two tickets, I had my choice of seat A or B. I chose B and sat there by myself feeling silly. When the cocktail waitress came and said brightly, "How're you doing tonight?" I hesitated rather a long while before coming up with "Um...Okay." "You're not too sure, though?" she asked. And so, I told her my sad little story. "Really?" she said, eying seat A. "Because my mom really wanted to come to this concert. If she can get here she would totally give you thirty dollars." I told her I would be only too happy if someone could use the ticket. She was delighted; I was delighted. She took my spare ticket and hurried out to the lobby to call her mom.

Around that time, a friendly couple, the the holders of seats C and D arrived. And so I told them the same sad little story with the new happy ending: that we would soon be joined by our waitress' mother. They were able to join in the general delight. We then spoke quite amicably for about a half an hour as though we were old friends.

About three songs in, the waitress' mother was ushered in to seat A. The waitress came and embraced her and proceeded to bring me a dish of sorbet and a second glass of ginger ale on the house. The goodwill at Table 11 was flowing like the mighty Mississippi.

After the encore, we all told each other what a great pleasure it had been to make each other's acquaintance, what a pleasant evening it had been, and generally, to our view, how Table 11 was superior to all other tables in the world. The mother told me what a marvelous favor I'd done her by allowing her to see the show, and the waitress handed me thirty bucks, while clearing away my empty sorbet dish.

Oh, right. Shawn Colvin did a fine job too.