As I began my trip back home, yesterday, I stopped at the Acorn market to refuel. After refueling I stepped inside to use the ATM and restrooms. While standing at the ATM, I overheard a small group of women talking and looking at the map hanging on a nearby bulletin board. They were trying to find where they were. I tried to tell them where to look and then offered to show them as soon as I was done at the ATM. Once I had my money and receipt in hand, I stepped over, did a quick scan of the map, and pointed at the cigarette burn that used to be the intersection of Rt. 15 and Rt 328 on the map.
“Oh, so we should be in New York soon!” one woman said in relief. I agreed and asked them where they were headed. “Niagara Falls,” she replied. I asked her about the route they were taking, and she confessed he didn’t really know because they were using a GPS. (This is a somewhat common side effect of using a GPS for travel that I simply don’t comprehend.)
We then spent a few minutes talking about their plans, and I recommended a few things in the Niagara Falls area I enjoy doing. We then talked about their larger trip, which includes an earlier stop at Hershey and a future excursion into New York City. The conversation lasted about five minutes as we all waited our respective turn to use the restrooms.
As I thought about it later, I was amazed at this further evidence of some of the changes I’ve gone through. While my father has certainly been the kind to strike up conversations with random people on the road, it’s not something I’ve ever shown either an interest or ability in doing. And yet, here I was, engaging in a conversation that would come perfectly naturally for Dad, and I was finding it equally natural and comfortable for myself, too.
What happened to the shy, socially incompetent guy I used to be? How did I become this self confident, only slightly socially incompetent guy who spoke with ease to a group of perfect strangers?
Not that I’m complaining, mind you. It’s just surprising.