Lame Adventure 222: The Rejection of Strangers

Strangers entering and exiting the 72nd Street Subway station on Stranger's Day.

If you happened to read Lame Adventure 221, you’re aware that this past Wednesday was the inaugural Stranger’s Day celebration, and I embraced this brand new commemoration with a degree of gusto more commonly reserved for participating in a holy war.  It never occurred to me that while holding a Stranger’s Day greeting card in my paw and politely asking fellow subway riders if they are familiar with The New Yorker, the cartoonist Roz Chast, or if they’d now like a Stranger’s Day card, some would look at me like I was harassing them.  The thought bubble above my head said one word:

My thought bubble:  Yikes!

One woman in her early thirties seemed petrified, so much so that she scared me.  I discussed her with my sidekick, Greg.

Me:  What do you think that was about?

Greg pondered the question.

Greg:  Could she have suffered a flashback to a time when she was brutally raped by a woman that looks just like you, dresses just like you, and was holding a weapon that looked just like a greeting card?

Of the five people I found the nerve to approach on the subway train, three rejected me – the aforementioned woman that literally ran, another woman who looked at me as if I had grown a second head, but the Wall Street businessman in the pink power tie was gracious.  He simply said, “No thanks.”

Of the two people that listened to my pitch and accepted cards, one was a woman around my age (over 40 under death), and a guy in Greg’s 18-34 demographic.  She seemed charmed by the idea and he said, “Thank you.”

Personalized Stranger's Day greeting card note or rantings of a mad woman?

I arrived at work dragging my feet for I was still carrying one card that now seemed as heavy as a boulder.  I conferred with Milton about strategy in an email exchange.

Me: Wow, giving three Stranger’s Day cards out on the commute in is much easier said than done.  Plus I didn’t see anyone reading The New Yorker this morning.  Joy.  Maybe everyone is boycotting it because they’re so horrified by Stranger’s Day?

Milton (donning his Mr. Succinct chapeau): On the subway, people are on their guard for criminals.

We decided I should hand out the last card at Starbuck’s.  I selected the one in the Barnes and Noble at Warren and Greenwich Streets in TriBeCa, primarily because everyone in there is reading so I was confident that whoever I focused on also knows how to write.  I zeroed in on a guy around Greg’s age scrolling through Craigslist postings on a MacBook.  He did not seem scary at all, nor was he and he did not seem to mind accepting that third card.  I left thinking:

Me:  Okay, he’s sitting at a computer in a place with WiFi.  He was willing to accept the card.  I can’t expect any more from him than if he asked me to write his comment on my site for him myself.  Hm, should I have suggested that?

What I have concluded from this experience is that Stranger’s Day is rather strange indeed since it appears that 99.9% of the populace has no idea what it is and they’d prefer not to know more about it.  A more appropriate name to some might be if it were called, “Don’t Approach Me Day.”   Yet, if I had to do it all over again, would I?

Hell no!

Hey, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different result.  I might be a bit off my rocker, but I’m definitely not a candidate for a strait jacket … yet.  Still, it was worth trying once, but now I’ll gladly hand the Stranger’s Day baton back to its creator, Roz Chast … hopefully she’ll accept that from me.

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11 responses to “Lame Adventure 222: The Rejection of Strangers

  1. How do you suppose people who live in Cheers-like small towns celebrate? How might you market the holiday in those kinds of settings, I wonder? Would city councils bring in bus-loads of outsiders to assure the day didn’t end an everybody-knows-your-name, pathetic flop?
    Kathy

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    • I know this must sound postitively un-American, but I’ve never watched a single episode of “Cheers” in my life. When it became popular, I didn’t have a TV. I know that must sound perverse since for a period of about 20 years I worked in TV. Back to Stranger’s Day, I suppose members of one small town would have to invade the next if they wished to find real strangers.

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  2. Snoring Dog Studio

    Well, I think it’s kind of sad that some strangers want to remain that way. I’d love to get a card from a stranger as long as it was your kind of card and not an invitation to a palm reading or a rally. I don’t do rallys.

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    • I don’t do rallys or palm readings, either. I suppose out here we’re so inundated with someone trying to sell us something, even something as goofy and benign as Stranger’s Day, as presented from someone as innoucuous as me that can seem threatening only because some might think it can’t possibly be goofy and benign, and me coming across as so unthreatening, I must be hiding some Mistress of the Universe power. Yet, sometimes a duck is nothing more than a duck and I’m about as powerful as a stale piece of Dentyne.

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  3. lameadventuresfan

    I’ve just finished reading all of the posts on your blog. I hope this just means I’m a fan and not a creep!

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  4. lameadventuresfan

    Well, I did do it all at work…keep them coming!

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  5. stay safe, kiddo! xoxo

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  6. Pingback: Lame Adventure 251: So Wrong It Can’t Be Real … Can It? | Lame Adventures

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