An Impound Lot Conversation

It really is amazing what you can learn from people when you take a moment to instigate a conversation. 

Last evening I found myself in a van while helping a friend pick up a vehicle at an impound lot. While the friend was searching for documents in his vehicle, I was sitting in the back of the van with the employee in his service vehicle. Just the two of us. Two strangers. In the impound lot. 

I was tired and my energy wasn’t great, so while waiting I thought about pulling out my phone in the silence and checking the usual things: Email, social media, perhaps some news. But knowing that random conversations are much more worthwhile than checking in digitally, I made a conscious decision to start a conversation.

I asked the man, “May I ask what country your accent comes from?“. And that was all it took.

This very friendly person opened up and explained how his father was German and his mother was Filipino and shared with me a great deal of history about the Philippines that I did not know. Specifically, he went into great detail about how about 80% of the Filipino language, “Tagalog”, is the same as the Spanish language. That’s why I’ve recognized some words when hearing people speak Filipino / Tagalog – because I understand some Portuguese (which is so similar to Spanish). The Spanish colonized the Philippines and were in power for over 300 years. All of this made me think, “Hey, perhaps I’ll study Tagalog someday?” and further increased my desire to visit that country. 

He also told me to be sure to spend my time in the northern part of the country when I visit. 

In the five minutes or so that we were talking, I felt as if I was hanging out with a friend. I was genuinely fascinated with his life experience and with what he shared with me. 

Going to the impound lot is typically not an enjoyable experience for anyone. Did you know, the impound lot only protect your vehicles and they are not actually the people who tow your car? That was interesting for me to learn. 

But on this night – this cold winter night – two people just enjoyed a conversation and it was great. My energy was completely shifted to the positive as a result and I’m sure that wouldn’t have been the case if I had picked up my phone. The old friend who was picking up his vehicle also felt positive despite the circumstances and we went on to have an enjoyable evening catching up. 

This was yet another reminder that talking to strangers is worthwhile. So give it a try!

Are you not comfortable doing so? Don’t worry, I’ve got a book coming out in the new year that will guide you through how to do this. These little encounters can do much more than educate and improve someone’s mood. They can positively change the direction of your life. 

Happy December.