"Don't talk to strangers", a warning spoken by many parents, in their attempt to prepare their children for the predators whose path they may cross, but I often find myself on the receiving end of this vital mantra.
This is usually said by my daughter, when we are out together. How did I land in this position of constant scrutiny, you are most likely asking yourself?
Well to be be fair, I have caused her enough embarrassment over the years to warrant her frustration because of my free form practice of a social butterflying.
I am a people person and find it rather effortless to begin conversations with anyone at any given moment, unless of course my first impression of you is warning me that you are a (Dexter in the making) which will cause me to keep my mouth shut and eyes averted.
"Stop talking to people," she would plead, face red, as I explained to the woman next to me on the Septa bus, my daughter's unhappiness with the doctor we were on the way to see.
"But, you learn so much by taking the time to converse with people," I replied, but her steady stare showed she did not agree.
"Do you have to talk to everyone, and stop telling them about my business," she admonished as we exited the bus, followed by a chorus of "Good luck."
Her views of my networking slowly changed as the information I gathered from strangers even helped find a doctor, she was happy with.
Now, when we are together at the mall and she is unable to find me, she sends the boys to search with the instructions, "Look for a group, deep in conversation, Grandmom is probably there."
The extent of my networking came in effect last November, as my oldest granddaughter and I tried to get some last minute shopping done. It was a weekend, the mall crowded, tempers short, and we had entered Hot Topics, to buy a gift card.
"Hi grandmom," the young man at the register called out, when he caught sight of me.
"Is he related to us?" she asked as he ran over a gave me a hug.
"No, we became friends, after he asked me for advice, the last few times, I shopped here," I replied.
"Stop talking to strangers," she whispered, adding "It's not safe."
"He's not a stranger anymore, and my advice helped him," I countered, as my purchase was handed to me, with an extra hug from the sales person.
All in all, I think my family has finally come to terms and acceped, although hesitantly, my ability to talk so easily with others, and they know it's not that hard to find me when we are out, I'm usually busy in a lively conversation with another fellow traveler on this big blue globe.