In a common area of a college campus I saw something interesting: little plastic stands with a picture of Joey from Friends saying, “How you doin’?” I assume this is his catchphrase or maybe one of them because I’ve never watched Friends and in fact if you added up all the bits and pieces of the show I’ve happened to catch while flipping through channels or waiting for something else to come on they wouldn’t even add up to a full episode and I’m not even all that sure “Joey” is the character’s name, but that’s another story. Anyway the stands were on a table with a sign explaining that if you were sitting alone but open to a stranger starting a conversation with you the stand would be a signal. And I think this is a great idea. I don’t know how many students used them or even what they thought of them, and it does seem kind of weird to say, “I’m open to having random strangers come up and talk to me,” but then I’ve had some really interesting conversations with random strangers.
Anyway I was on the bus and it stopped at a red light right next to a restaurant that has an open patio and, this being spring, there were people sitting out on the patio. There was a couple and I thought the guy was looking in the direction of the bus so I waved.
Yeah, that sounds pretty goofy, but a sudden impulse seized me and I thought, why not?
He didn’t notice. I think he really wasn’t looking at the bus and then he turned away, but then he turned back so I waved again. And he waved back.
The light changed and the bus moved away, so I didn’t get a chance to act on my next sudden impulse which was to open the window and yell, “How’s that burger?” or “What are you drinking?” or maybe just “How you doin’?” Maybe that’s just as well and maybe it’s just as well that the circumstances that allowed me to wave in the first place are unlikely to coalesce ever again, but at least he was open to sharing a moment with a random stranger.
This video is just long enough that after watching it I’ve now seen approximately half an episode of Friends.