The Conversation Guy

musings from a guy who likes to work any crowd

Archive for the ‘On the Metro’ Category

Going to Tunisia

with 2 comments

tunisiaWell, I’m not going to Tunisia, but my new friends I met on the metro this morning are…

So, after I biked to the metro in the rain this morning (after first having my double-shot latte at home), I got on at Ballston to head downtown to work. I looked around the entire metro car that I was in, and out of more than 100 people, not a single person was talking, so I was scanning the car, waiting for my moment. While I naturally go up to people at receptions or networking events, this is a whole new ball game. Then my moment came… The doors opened at the next stop and a couple walked in. I heard them talking about touristy stuff, so I waited for a pause and jumped in, asking if they were visiting DC. They told me they were local and were discussing plans for a trip to Tunisia, where he (Jacques) is from, with a group of friends from their tennis club. I asked him about the political climate in Tunisia and told me they have a strong single party system, but that they have a well educated populated population, providing doctors and teachers to the rest of the African continent. They also said it’s a wonderful place to visit – so I’ll add it to my list of vacation spots.

He asked me where I was from & I told him I live here and am from Western Maryland. He said he asked me that because most people who live here don’t usually talk to people on the metro. So, we chatted a moment about why that is the case. He commented that most people probably just view it as a silent moment to get ready for the day.

I asked what they do for work and Jacques told me he is from Tunisia and is retired and interested in history (he was on his way to the Archives to hear a lecture). His wife Connie works at the World Bank and was on her way to work. They asked where I work, and he said he was surprised to hear that I work at a policy oriented think-tank (it’s amazing how many stereotypes we have for people). When we got to the Farragut West stop, Connie left, saying it was great to meet and talk with me, while Jacques and I continued chatting until I stepped out at the next stop to go to my office. It’s amazing that once you break the ice with total strangers, you can talk to them like total friends. So, I’m interested in continuing this social experiment. Plus, at the end of the conversation, I jokingly quipped, “now, it’s your turn to start a conversation with strangers next time, to keep it going.” So, maybe if I do that each time, I can help start a larger city-wide conversation between people.

It’s definitely an interesting experience, so you should try it sometime and tell me about it by writing to and I’ll quote part of your story on the blog.

Until tomorrow,

– the conversation guy


Written by theconversationguy

October 15, 2009 at 11:12 pm