101 Days, 101 Strangers, 101 Stories: Day 44

Today I felt a sore throat coming on so I made a stop at the grocery store to buy a lemon and some herbal tea.

“How can you distinguish between a good lemon and a bad lemon?”, I asked the store clerk, genuinely curious. “You look at it and say ‘you’re good'”, he said, smirking. So I picked one up and said just that. We laughed. When life gives you lemons, use them as an opportunity to break the ice with a stranger. (And then, of course, use the ice for your lemonade). 

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I told him I had a second question and proceeded to ask if he would be willing to be my stranger of the day. He looked surprised but said sure. His name is Brad.

I asked him what he likes to do in his free time. He paused, letting his thoughts percolate for a moment. “I live a simple life. I don’t have much to tell you, to be honest”, he said. “I ride my bike, go for walks, walk my dog, watch TV… that’s basically it.” His favourite shows are The Killing and Game of Thrones. His dog’s name is Lu. Simple and sweet.

He’s lived in Vancouver for just over two decades and lived in Calgary before that. He wishes people in Vancouver were more friendly. He said that compared to Calgary, he’s noticed people here keep to themselves a lot. He described it as “cliquey”, observing that people tend to remain close friends only with people they went to high school with. It’s as though, he described, people here don’t often spread themselves further than the groups with which they’re familiar. In Calgary, though, he said it was more open and inclusive that that.

His advice? Don’t take life too seriously. Be a little bit nicer. And, treat everyone you meet with friendliness and kindness. 


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