I have a list in the active pocket of my mind. A list I often refer to when thrown into the company of strangers while traveling. The list is labeled Conversation Lifeboats:
- Did you ever have a great teacher – in school or out? Tell me.
- What would you be learning – if you had time?
- What would you have learned to do if you knew then what you know now?
- What would you teach, if you were asked?
- Teach me something. Anything.
- Do you know any silly tricks? Coins, cards, face contortions?
- If you could be an eyewitness to some event in history, which one?
- If you could see anyplace in the world before human history, where would you go and why?
- Who would you like to see naked?
- Who do you admire? Who admires you?
- Answer an unasked question – something you know but nobody would ever ask about and you would never volunteer.
- Decisions of consequence – what forks in the road were on your way – and what if you had taken the other path?
- Pick another place/time in modern history – since 1700 – to live.
- Book, movie, you’ve read/seen more than once. Why?
- What ability/talent do you not have but would like to have?
- Ever thought about changing your appearance or identity? And?
- If you were a spy, what would be your cover?
- What was the worst/best summer job you ever had?
- If you could know how your life will end but you still could not change it, would you want to know? Why or why not?
- If you could live one short episode of your life over again – a day, week, month – which would it be by? And why?
- Do you remember your first love? Tell me.
- Have you ever experienced the kindness of a stranger? How?
- Do you ever have any bizarre thoughts?
Everybody has a story to tell and a willingness to tell it if asked. Everybody knows things you don’t know, but wish you did. Everybody is a door into some other room in the world. Anybody is capable of inspiring you. Every situation contains opportunity.
[I am going to try and answer these first, before asking anyone else.]