Joy Reid and Talking to Strangers

Joy Reid (MSNBC)

Last Friday, Mary and I saw Joy Reid at Keplers in Menlo Park. A riotously good time. Room full of aging liberals. It was all about her #1 NYT best seller, Medgar and Myrlie; Medgar Evers and the Love Story That Awakened America.

In speaking about abortion, she commented, “Abortion is all about labor supply, just like slavery. It has to do with ‘property rights.’ Poor women are forced to give birth to the workers that will grow up to be the labor for the elites’ military and fast-food restaurants, etc.”

Hmmm? Not about religion? Hmmm? Not about love of babies? Hmmm? It’s about money. What a surprise.

Ask People About Their Lives

…then get ready for amazing responses.

Scene #1 Two men come to repair our clothes drier, father and son.

RG: How do you like working with (for) your father?

Ricardo: (eyes widening) I love it. I’m learning so much. He is a great teacher (Ignacio Torres). I’m taking classes at the JC to learn business. Someday… dad says… I can take over his appliance repair business.

Scene #2: At Kaiser getting a CT Scan

RG (to tech): Do you like your job?

Tech: I love it. I didn’t get into dental school. I was depressed, not sure what to do with my life. A friend suggested I look into X-Ray technology. I did, and here I am. I’m in a medical field. Get to help people. Have a career that lets me move around, though I doubt I’ll leave Kaiser.

Scene #2A: In waiting room. Scruffy-looking man in the chair across from me wearing a Baja 1,000T-shirt.

RG: Excuse me, are you involved with the Baja 1000 race?

Man: (Looking up from his phone, excitedly) Oh my god, yes! I drive a chase truck that supplies the race car’s every need. It is such a rush.

RG: My race car-driver friend, John Hutchison said, “Racing is two degrees above an orgasm.”

Man: Absolutely.

Proudly, he began showing me all these photos on his phone. Suddenly I didn’t care about getting in for my CT Scan. I wanted to talk more. Alas, he was then called to his X-ray. I hastily gave him my card.

RG: Call me. I’d like to talk more.

Scene #3: Barber Shop

Yvette (the barber): Rick, meet Elaine. She is my helper. She is on the cheer team at Sequoia High School.

RG: Wow. That takes commitment and talent. Do they throw you up in the air?

Elaine: No. I’m too big to “fly.”

RG: What do you like most about being on the team?

Elaine:  The uniforms and all the sequins.

I showed her a photo I’d taken of the Sequoia Cheer Team:

RG: Good luck with that.

Elaine: Thanks

Scene #4: Saleswoman (25-ish, covered with tattoos and face piercings) at Sports Basement

RG: You are very helpful. Bet you like your work.

Saleswoman: Yes. I love it. I grew up in this business. My parents owned two running shoe stores.

RG: This business is in your DNA.

Saleswoman: I’m a student at Canada College to discover what I might want to do with my life. Not sure I want to spend my career in the running shoe business.

RG: Tell me about your nose piercings.

Saleswoman: Well, it doesn’t go all the way through…

Scene #5: Two women on Harrison Ave.

I’m working in the yard and notice two women, arm in arm, coming up Harrison. They stop to admire the flowers.

RG: Hi. Do you live around here?

Older Woman: Yes, over by Sequoia Hospital. I’m Mary and this is my daughter Elaine (30-ish).

Elaine: I live with my parents while I’m working to become a Journeyman Electrician. I take the final test next week.

RG: Wow. Must be a challenge being a woman in a man’s field.

Elaine: You can say that again. There is only one other woman in my training group. I had to get used to the sexist comments.

Mary: We are very proud of her.

RG: Hey, Elaine, I wonder if you’d like to be interviewed for my blog? Here’s my card. Check out my page to see what I do. Give me a call if you’d like to do it.

Being encouraged in all this by David Brooks’ new book, How to Know a Person, I’ve begun asking all manner of people about their lives… and guess what? They like to tell me. Try it out. It is very rewarding. (P.S. Try to not talk about yourself.)

11 thoughts on “Joy Reid and Talking to Strangers

  1. Ingrid J Fermin says:

    I really enjoy Joy Reid. She is bright, humerous and she really prepares for her interviews. I plan to read her new book.

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