Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Laughing with Strangers: Revisited

Have you ever gotten email or a familiar phone call that wasn't meant for you? I have a common surname, so end up, fairly often, with messages meant for some other L. Stewart. I've even received a few exciting hotel confirmations that weren't mine, dang the dang.

I received this one, tonight:*
Hey Jim, Mary [Doe] married for a while to a [Smith] wasn't she? Which one? Mom.
Having sleepily arrived home at 8 pm to find dinner and tend to chores, I merrily responded:
Hi Mom,

You got the wrong Stewart; I'm Lori, not Jim. I don't know who Mary Doe was married to.

Just wanted you to know that you got the wrong address. Have a nice day.
I hit send, thinking, "God, I'm loopy; that woman is going to think I'm nuts. Ah well. A stranger."

It wasn't long before I got this message back:
Sorry about that. I found my mistake.
I laughed outloud when I noticed she signed it,
Since it was an e-mail encounter, I don't guess I know that she was laughing, but I'll just give her credit for pulling one over on me, and assume that we were both laughing.

A laugh with a complete stranger is one of those things that has always made my day. My cheeks hurt from smiling, now, at this stranger that returned my volley.

It brings to mind another memory of laughing with a stranger, that I wrote about 3.5 years ago. Could it have been that long? This memory still brings a smile to my face.

Laughing with a Stranger.

Does it only happen every 4 years or so? I like to think not. There are some, however, that you just manage to carry with you for a lifetime.

It's why I love them so.

As always, share. A stranger has made you laugh, and I want to know.

*Following Dragnet's lead, names were changed, to protect the innocent.


  1. Lori, per your suggestion, I put up a "donate" button. Already have received 4 acts of kindness

    Luv ya.


  2. The only time I remember laughing with a stranger was at a bookstore. Not one of those cramped charming places, but a huge one housed in what used to be a movie theatre. We were standing across from each other over a display of books and this woman passed by with her friend. We overheard: "I never come to this bookstore because I'm so claustrophobic". The guy looks up to the 30 foot ceiling, over at the walls 50 feet away and says, "Maybe she needs the dictionary section" - at which point we both dissolved into peals of hysterical laughter.

  3. I share my first and last name, including spelling, with the matriarch of a well-known local moving and storage company. Over the years we've run into some amusing situations. When I'd present my very pregnant self at Christie in the '93, they'd ask my DOB and I'd reply "not the one born in the '30s". When my son was born and my name hit the paper, she got calls from friends wondering hmmmm is there something you're not telling us? She was a sub bowler so I'd often get messages on my home answering machine asking me to bowl. I've had her guests RSVP to parties. When her husband passed away I received cards and letters and phone calls....at that point we met for coffee and card and story exchange. And we both use the same bank, tho I can't say they've ever mixed up our accounts. Since I no longer have a land line I'm not in the phone book so it's pretty much dropped off, but it was an interesting way to meet a very nice lady. And we did have a few good laughs.

  4. It was the SGM's first deployment. I was a young army wife sending my first care packages. I am at the video store with a friend, looking at the rated R soft core, cinemax at night type movies and say to my friend "if you were a Green Beret away from home, would you prefer boobs and inferred sex or guns and violence?" My friend leaned in and said "Pobble, other people can hear you, you know." And the guy next to me snorted. To which I replied "You mean, just because I'm having a conversation with you doesn't mean you're the only one who can hear me?" Which got said stranger laughing. Which got us laughing. We tried to ignore each other anyway until finally, the man reached out, pulled a movie from the shelves (boobs and inferred sex), handed it to me and said "this one. trust me." before walking away, all three of us laughing again.

  5. Dad had a very common name (I'll use Joe Smith) and always got phone calls for a Joe Smith who was black (Dad is white). It was always pretty obvious after a few words that it was the wrong Joe Smith but Dad would often engage these people in conversation and I think ended up with some of them as customers (he sold insurance).

    Jazz's story reminded me of a funny from today. I sat down at a bar and a waitress came up to give her tip share to the bartender and was very hostile about it. She slammed down her leather money thingy and barked, "Okay Tim, here's your money!!" Then she yanked bills out, tossed them toward him and took off. I looked at the bartender and said, "Wow." He deadpanned, "She's our morale officer."

  6. Oh wow. Bettycat's comment also reminded me that my second husband shared the same name as the GM of one of the local TV stations and we would get calls from people complaining about a TV show or a weather prediction. I hadn't thought of that in years!


Back talk! Comment here!