I have found it easy to talk with strangers all my life. I believe it’s because people have problems with family, friends, and jobs, but within the melee of social competition they often have no one with whom they can be honest. Enter the Asperger. Many social humans suffer loneliness and neglect due to an inferior position in their social band. This Aspies also experience. We’re constantly reminded that “no one wants to hear about your peculiar interests.” Well over 100,000 visits to this blog reassure me that peculiar interests are not uninteresting.
Stranger conversations take place “here and now” and a certain equality comes from this momentary breach in the rigid discrimination built into the social hierarchy. No social status is involved; two humans exchange their personal reality, and that expands the personal reality. It’s the timeless equivalent of travelers or nomads finding themselves in the identical space – time, on some unmarked location on earth, unmarked by social conformity or ownership. A tree, a wall, a relict garden; a café or the middle of an empty side road. A shaded cemetery, a historic marker, a roadside table in the middle of nowhere. This is where human beings have shared their best thoughts.
Asperger types have a talent for extemporaneous meetings of the private mind. Despite complaints that we only go on and on about our own boring and narrow interests, we’re terrific listeners, a rare skill indeed. We sense when a person may want or need to talk, but from experience, I would say that the ultra-shy Aspie may need encouragement to engage with strangers from a role model. My Asperger father was an obligate “stranger talker” and I learned from observing him, that if one listens a bit longer than an interval of about two insincere seconds, which is prescribed by law for socially-dictated human/human greetings, a torrent of conversation may follow.
Listening is the sincere other-half of conversation; listening is a form of hospitality.
One is permitted a longer interval of interaction with a dog or a cat than with another human. That’s why, in order to meet people, people walk their dogs in public places.