Thursday, August 11, 2016

Life Just Keeps Getting Better: Our First Perfect Stranger

We will kick off our Perfect Strangers: Indy Photos + Stories series later this month, but in the meantime, here are some photos I took that started my fascination with the perfection of strangers. In these entries, I don't have the subjects' names or their stories. I just have images of faces and attitudes that captivated me. I hope you'll feel joy as you look at these people being caught on film being happy.

I took these on a cruise to Alaska. As we were checking in and having our IDs made, I noticed a man traveling alone. One of the female cruise directors asked him why he was traveling alone, and he gave her a look I understood all too well. The look said: "Do you think I want to be alone?" But it also said: "So what if I'm alone? I'm alive and I'm present, and that's everything!"

I saw him the next couple of mornings at breakfast, eating alone, dressed up in suit and tie. The first day he gave me a weak "Good morning" as I greeted him. The second day, he greeted me with warm familiarity,  "Another beautiful day!" 

Something about this man just made me smile, and I decided we would invite him to breakfast with us the next day if he felt so inclined.

Later that evening, we visited one of the many dancing venues. Cruise ships are known to attract people who take dancing very seriously--we're talking "Dancing with the Stars" quality. Now just a side note about this particular evening on the Gulf of Alaska. On one side of the ship, you could see the sun setting into the sea. On the opposite side, you could see a full moon rising up out of the sea. Larry humored me as we traversed the ballroom from side to side to take in this phenomenon. 

Just then, I spotted my new breakfast friend taking a seat in the lounge. He looked even more dashing than usual. A few songs in, he approached a woman who was alone and requested her hand on the dance floor. She arose gracefully, swan-like, without a word and joined him. What happened next was better than Sunset/Moonrise I had been admiring outside the ship.

They spun around the room as if dancing on a cloud. She had the beautiful legs of a 20-something ballerina, but appeared to be about the same age as Mr. Breakfast Smiles. They danced as if they'd been partners their whole lives. I knew for sure he was the kindred spirit I thought he was when he was trying to be polite to the cruise director who didn't understand that being alone didn't mean being lonely. (I myself have traveled alone to countless locations!) This man was a Romeo--not just about holding a beautiful woman in his arms on the high seas, but about life. 

The next day, we were reclining by the pool, when who approached but Mr. Romeo Dancer (in a spiffy seer sucker suit to boot!) and his lovely new companion. As he approached, I could feel my smile getting bigger and bigger, spreading across my entire face. He looked me triumphantly in the eye, gave me a thumbs up, and in the wink of an eye he said it all in five simple words:

"Life just keeps getting better!"

This is a man who goes looking for happiness and doesn't take no for an answer.

This is what I like to call a Perfect Stranger!

1 comment:

  1. Just found and read all of these...I love them! What a fantastic idea and such a wonderful antidote to negativity. I shared this on my FB timeline so hopefully others will discover it, too.