I get stopped on the streets a lot. Random people like to chat with me. I really don't have an explanation for why that happens. A few months ago, a short, cute and chubby looking Spanish man stopped me on the footpath and bombarded me with questions (?) in Spanish. I like to believe that he said, "Usted es tan bonito", although that's not a question. And I lifted it straight from Google Translate so it's probably grammatically incorrect as well. He was surprised to find out that I didn't understand Spanish because:
"The dark hair and your features! You look Spanish. How come no one's ever told you that before? You a student? No? Then? WHAT? MARRIED? YOU? How old are you? 18? NO?"
So now we know that if I play the "married" card, I can pass off as at least an 18 year old. Considering how one of my friend's friends who was visiting thought that I looked barely 15, that's good news. Considering how I always get asked for an ID every time we go to a bar, that's good news. In fact, once I wasn't carrying my ID and The Husband and I just showed them our rings. "We really are married", we said. Judging by the pained expression on The Husband's face because the poor guy just wanted to grab a drink, they believed that he was in fact married. A guy at the mall yesterday tried to sell me a nail buffer pack worth £50 for £20 because I "looked like a student". I'm so smart, I didn't fall for it. In fact, I got back home and ordered the exact same nail buffer on Amazon for £5 and an even better cuticle cream for £4. Let me just pat myself on the back before coming back to the point.
This has happened a couple of times in the past. And by "this", I mean people randomly asking me for directions, chatting about the weather (now I get why that's a topic for small talk), and saying "oh hello dear" followed by a comment on the weather when they see me eyeing their cute widdle dogs.
Yesterday's nail buffer incident at the mall happened right before I met up with The Husband for lunch. On my way there, another old man chatted me up. What if I was in a hurry, old man? What makes you think that I'm a good target? Anyway, he explained to me that I was standing near a very famous landmark. He pulled out a book from his bag and showed me the picture of an apparently famous rail road architect who had worked with the Scottish Rail (I think). "You see that door there marked number 4? This man was born in number 14.". I pretty much lost interest very soon and slowly backed away from the conversation. But I haven't been able to get him out of my mind ever since. Some gnawing feeling in the back of my head keeps telling me that the man I met was the famous architect from the book. I didn't even pay enough attention to remember what his name was or where he'd worked. I just knew that he was very important to the old man. So important that he was possibly trying to hold on to a part of his past glory, of his youth, of his success. And that's just sad. He looked haggard and tired. He looked defeated. He looked like he shouldn't have been out there, roaming the streets with an old book with the picture of an architect on the cover.
Makes one wonder if that's where most of us are headed.