DEARSTRANGER

Do you know the song I never talk to strangers by Tom Waits?

[...] it always takes one to know one stranger
maybe we’re just wiser now
and been around the block so many times
that we don’t notice
that we’re all just perfect strangers
as long as we ignore
that we all begin as strangers
just before we find
we really aren’t strangers anymore.

Probably you can recollect memories of some stranger telling you his or her whole life story in a bar, on a park bench, on the aisle during a sleepless long-distance flight or on a train through some forgotten country.
Isn’t it s-t-r-a-n-g-e that in those rare, precious moments s-t-r-a-n-g-e-r-s are closer to you than any of your friends? The immediacy of the present one shares with a stranger is granted by the fact that nothing in the past connects one to another and supposedly nothing in the future will connect one to another. At least, that is the tacit agreement between two people who don’t know each other and who haven’t been introduced to each other by a third person. Upon this agreement it is amazing to experience how easy it is to communicate: There are no expectations, no hopes, no concepts – on either side. Just mutual listening and understanding.

it always takes one to know one stranger

A Tibetan Buddhist master once said:
“How I feel, how I need things, how I want things, how I desire things and how I don’t desire things, everybody is the same. Knowing this, creates a deep understanding of other people, not thinking that these people could be very bad, that these people could be really strange, or that these people could be totally different from me. Of course, there might be differences at every level. Everybody is different. There are some differences, but basically, it is all the same. And therefore, I don’t regard anybody as complete stranger.
‘Stranger’ is actually a very strange word. When I learnt (the word) ‘stranger’ I had difficulties first to understand what a stranger is. Because what is a stranger? Nobody is a stranger. Nobody is strange. I understand them. If I have not met them it’s because I have not met them. Nobody is really a stranger. I do know them – more or less. They are just like me. There isn’t anybody that is a stranger. So therefore, when you have the feeling ‘Everybody is like me’ then I think it is possible that there’s no stranger in fact.”

just before we find
we really aren’t strangers anymore

If we haven’t met, it just means that we haven’t met.
I know you. You are no stranger to me. You are like me. And I am like you. Not exactly like you, but more or less like you. And that’s enough for a start.

awning before blue sky, digital photography - Dear Stranger by Linda Jo'Sant for GRAINOFGOLD