This week I spent ages chatting to the Newsagents owner's son about the colour that they have just painted the outside of their shop. And looking through the colour palettes of the colours that they had almost chosen. And played with their kitten whilst he called the Magazine distributors to see if he could get me a copy of the July UK Tatler Magazine (I'm super excited to be in the social pages, after attending the Eat Yourself Young Book Launch)....and dying for my own copy after my friend Emily spotted me in it while she waited at the Dentists.
But I digress.
I also had a long chat yesterday evening with the teller at the ridiculously busy Waterloo station M&S whilst I paid for my salmon fillets. About how he sometimes wishes he could just sit under the counter and have some peace, and how being the corner most till, he may actually get away with it, without anyone noticing.
Now in South Africa, and I'm sure in many other parts of the world, conversations like this may be quite ordinary.
Not so in London. Here you can spend close to an hour rammed underneath some ones armpit with their bag pushing annoyingly between your knees, and even occasionally holding onto their arms (or legs) for balance whilst the train starts or slows down. And that same person, you would Not be able to spot in a line up an hour later.
Here we don't make eye contact or small talk.
When my Parents come to visit, I remind them that it is not normal to talk to the person sat next to you on the underground, or on the bus or at the theatre, as they will likely think that you are either a paedophile or a sociopath.
Unless they are an American or a fellow South African tourist, in which case they will chat back.
Safer not to risk it though.
So why am I having conversations with strangers whose faces I normally wouldn't register? Or a laugh with the two girls who I helped squeeezze onto the packed train on Tuesday evening?
Probably because since I resigned from my job, I have more time and I'm not in a constant rush to complete each task at hand. And because I've just come back from 5 very relaxing days in the Countryside.
But mostly, because this week I experienced again the fear of what it feels like to contemplate the fact that my body may not be 100% healthy...and it reminded me, that at the end of the day, human interaction is what matters.
Slow down, smile, have a chat and have a laugh...your day will be better for it:)
Have a lovely weekend