Thought Experiment Thursday: A Stranger's Mind

woman crossing street

She turned the corner, and then she was there. Just like that. A woman with red hair and a grey coat, walking right next to me.

I didn’t see her face, but I felt her presence. She was fast. Same pace as mine. Where was she going? A jeweler? The dry cleaner’s? School?

A hundred yards passed. Then two hundred. Tension was rising. Who’d turn first? Who’d break our suddenly shared path? I decided to cross the road.

Fifty yards later, and there she was. Again. Crossing the road. Like me. Making a right turn. Like me. Just a few feet ahead now. Grey tights, grey ballerinas, a woman with class.

Ah, the café. But wait. Could it be that…? No! But yes. A wide sway, a swift turn, and there she was. Again. Waiting in line right in front of me. She was listening to music with the tiniest of headphones.

“Cappuccino?” the barista asks? He knows. “Cappuccino,” she repeats. She knows. She picks it up with a sad look on her face. What’s up? Bad day? Bad sleep? Bad life?

I take my order and cross the road. I’m almost there. One way or another, the game’s about to end. But on the final fifty yards, guess who I see? I guess school was the answer.

Our path’s cross and she dives into the college building. But not without a look. It’s not a smile. It’s not a frown. Just a look. “I see you,” it says. From both of us.

The wooden door swings shut - and then she’s gone. Just like that.


Life is full of strange encounters. Millions of moments, connecting us to the unknown. But that’s what it is. A connection. If we accept it, we can feel it. Often, we’re just too busy to notice.

Who is that stranger? What are they thinking? Why are they sad? Are they? What’s it like inside their mind?

In the real world, that’s called empathy. But in our heads, these questions are the gates to the universe. We can go anywhere if we step through them. So please, come inside.

You never know what’s behind the next corner.

-Nik

PS: What did you think of this? I brainstormed the idea of Thought Experiment Thursday with reader John. Should we make this a recurring thing?

Basically, I’d share a little story like this or “what if…” exercise each Thursday to inspire your imagination and send your creativity in all kinds of directions. Hit reply.


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