Sign In StrangerPosted: July 6, 2011
Over the past few years, I have developed the idea that there are certain things that are better done by strangers. I’ll go so far as to say that despite the fact that we teach children to stay away from strangers for good reason, strangers play significant roles in our lives. Let me explain.
A few years ago I flew on an airline that had as one of the options available on its audio entertainment system, a channel that would allow passengers to listen to air traffic control. I thought this was pretty cool. It was especially cool since I knew someone who was an air traffic controller at our airport. I settled into my seat, tuned in the channel and started listening.
I kept hearing calm voices giving commands that I couldn’t understand as I listened for my friend’s voice. Then it hit me. What if I heard him? Would that be reassuring to me? What did I know about the man? He was probably the best juggler I knew, he was married, he had a daughter.
When he and I talked he didn’t use the calm air traffic voice. He laughed. His tone varied. I knew too much about him; he couldn’t possibly get my plane off the ground, he was a juggler.
I switched to a music channel. I felt bad about it. I knew he was good at his job, but some things should be handled by strangers. It doesn’t mean I trust my friends less. In fact, there are friends I trust implicitly but I would not want involved in certain tasks.
There Are People You Trust With Everything, And People You Only Trust Enough To Do Surgery On You
A few years ago I needed surgery.
They rolled me into a room full of strangers in masks. We made small talk. It was very calming. They told me to count backward from ten, I went to sleep. I woke up stitched up and ready to go.
What if instead of the Doctors and Nurses in masks being strangers, I looked up and the eyes and voices behind the mask let me know the surgeon and anesthesiologist were my friends Dale and Steve – veterans of many misadventures with yours truly.
Me – Ha ha, thanks for coming boys, you guys are great. Now get the hell out of here and send in some responsible parties.
Dr. Dale – Dude, don’t worry. Steve is going to put you to sleep and I’m going to get the stone out.
Me – I’m not sure this is a good idea.
Dr. Steve – It’s OK Bro, I’ve got this. Count backward from 10.
Me – You know, maybe we should do this another day.
Dr. Dale – Relax. Think about something else. Remember when we took that train back from that bar on the shore?
Me – No.
Dr. Steve – Neither do I, count back from 10.
Me – Not until you promise to make sure he puts everything back where it was. Everything.
Dr. Dale – Come on, I wouldn’t do something like that. If I did, you know I’d put it back.
Dr. Steve – You know what it is Dale? He doesn’t know how to count backward.
Me – What?!? Up yours, man. Watch this…10, 9, 8….ummm 7…
Now, I am safe from Doctors Dale and Steve. If they actually were doctors I’d recommend them to you as good guys with big hearts. They would be good at what they did, but they’d never cut on me because of my policy that some things can only be done by strangers.
I’m sure my list will expand, but right now, in addition to doctors and air traffic controllers, all pilots and bank presidents must be complete strangers to me.
What occupations are on your list?
Steely Dan, Sign in Stranger: