when strangers drop knowledge

Over the course of this week I’ve been trying to sell as many of my non-essential belongings as possible. On one hand I really want to have less material attachments, and on the other hand I need cash money for busses, planes, and trains (and that appendage by the name of student loans). So in the spirit of minimalism and getting paid, I downloaded all of the buy-and-sell apps that the Apple store had to offer. I’ve learned a good bit about the app-sales world, and I can share those deets with anyone who is interested. However, Kristin Addis has already done a great job of that, so I am inserting the link to one of her many blogs that have helped me while kickstarting this journey!


This post; however, is less about how to sell your things and more about finding friends in strangers.
This morning I met a woman named Dwan. I knew someone by this name was coming to pick up my crappy lawn furniture for $35 at 10 AM. For some reason I had envisioned them as a middle aged man, (even though their profile picture was just a selfie of a Yorkshire Terrier.) However, at 9:30 AM, I got a Facebook message that 70-year-old Dwan was here to cram a table and six chairs into her little Acura (her car was probably not an Acura, I making up the first medium sized car name that I can think of). When she pulled up I asked if she was here for the furniture and she excitedly replied “Yes are you Shelby?” I must’ve given her the most confused look of my lifetime, because I just knew that this was a joke and that another human with a truck was coming behind her. I told her I didn’t think it was going to fit in her car, and she said she’d just make two trips if she had to.

I quickly realized that I really wasn’t going to tell a 70-year-old woman what to do, so I obliged by carrying the furniture down stairs to the parking lot. Over the course of the next 10 minutes we shoved three of the six chairs in her backseat, and strapped the table upside down in her trunk, while she dropped knowledge on me.

She was new to Huntsville and loved that she was able to easily get around here. She fell in love with the area while visiting her daughter from Philadelphia, and never went back!

(Fun Fact: She left her husband in Philly, but says that her 2-3 visits per year are plenty!! Dwan is a true badass, if you hadn’t already picked up on that.)

She told me she was so excited that I was going to Spain soon and said she wished that she had traveled more before her back surgery. She advised me to, “Go as far and as fast as you can, even if you have to sell your soul to do it!” “I haven’t been many places, but I did go to Woodstock!” she laughed.

Finally she told me, “I probably shouldn’t be telling you all this but you should go, and don’t stress.” The only cautious advice that she had for me was, “don’t be stupid…there are certain places that you shouldn’t go alone at night, but you probably already know that.” Then she drove off, with the 2/3 of her purchase that we could manage to shove in the car, and said that she would text me so I could help her load the remaining three chairs. About 30 minutes later she was back for the final three chairs, but when I came down the chairs were gone. “You loaded them without me?” I jokingly scolded. “No,” she said as we looked around. In those measly 30 minutes someone had jacked our chairs!! Everything inside of me wanted to throw a fit. It was 95 degrees, I was running late for other errands, and I felt terrible. I just kept apologizing as she proceeded to tell me,

“Now this shouldn’t be causing you any stress! I’m Catholic, and that doesn’t mean anything, but I gave up negative thoughts for lent, so I’m not allowed to worry about this. Somebody needed those chairs and now they have them.” I told her that I was very lucky that we had met, and promised if I could sleuth around and find the missing chairs that I would bring them to her!


Humans are pretty awesome. We have so much to learn from one another. I’m grateful for fleeting interactions with strangers. There is always something to take away if you’re present enough to accept it.

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