Big cities guarantee strangers. I’ve always been attracted to Toronto because of the high risk of meeting new people. All kinds of people, from different walks of life. They’ve seen things I’ve never dreamed. Where I come from, everyone knows everyone; there are few strangers.
In Toronto, we have the chance to meet strangers everyday. To make strangers friends—to befriend strangers, make them strangers no longer. So many of my good friends I met serendipitously in the city: by chance on the same bus or train, in the library elevator, and, of course, in coffee shops.
Some of my most meaningful friendships began so simply:
Got a light?
Is this seat taken?
Most people I know can tell you a funny story about how we met. I like people. Random people, funny people, funny-looking people. People who don’t fit in. I collect people.
In this new category of my blog, I will interview the strangers I found. There are so many people in this city whose stories I’ve wanted to hear: the lady at Union Station playing the saxaphone during rush hour, the homeless guy stationed outside the Tim Horton’s on Victoria Street between Dundas and Gerrard, the taxi driver who drove me home last night. He has two daughters, both in medical school. He drives taxis to pay their tuition. His wife’s name is Laura and his cab smelled like cumin.
Strangers. Strangers with stories. Perhaps that’s what attracted me to this city—not simply the strangers, but their stories. Yes, decidedly, I’m after the stories.
Note to my mother: Don’t worry, I’m not going to get stolen by a hot dog vendor!