Stranger 92, Day 92 – Meet Andrea and David, the “Harmony of Structure and Free Spirit”

Stranger 92, Day 92 - Meet Andrea and David

I met today’s Strangers (yes, a combo!) sitting next to me at Starbucks. They entered a while before I asked, but the husband sat at a different table while the wife sat next to me and interviewed a couple people. She was interviewing people for childcare service of sorts. Didn’t know what, but as she did so, I made up my mind that I wanted to flip the table a little bit and interview her. I wasn’t sure if I would ask her, though, or her husband. Then, after a no-show interviewee, her husband joined her at her table. Perfect! I’ll ask them both. They happily agreed, so this is how our meet goes…

Meet Andrea, 25, and David, 26

M(e): Starting with you, David, who are you?

D(avid): I’m an open-source developer. Very much to my core. *he laughs* My passion is just enabling people to really get their message across online. That sort of thing. And freely making information flow. Just enabling people that don’t have the ability to get their voice heard. That’s kinda who I am.

M: Okay. Andrea, who are you?

A(ndrea): Oooh. That’s such a tough question. *she thinks about this for a moment* I don’t know. I can’t exactly describe myself the same way because I don’t… I bounced around so many different careers, so many different things just trying to figure out who I am, and where I fit into things. But for now, I’m the hiring manager with a company who provides childcare for children. I’ve worked with, actually, a lot of companies that work with children. So, I do a lot of work with kids, I guess. I enjoy learning a lot of different things.

M: So, I know you’re still trying to figure that out. *I turn towards David* I’m curious, David, if you could describe who she is, how would you do that?

D: Two words — free spirit. Very much. Yup. If something catches her eye that she really wants to try… At one point, I know you did real estate…

A: Oh yeah, I did!

D: … and at another point… She’s done a number of different things over the years. That’s the point I’m trying to get across. She does them well. If something really catches her eye, she will throw her whole being into that. Learn it. Master it. And if that’s something that she wants to keep going, she will. If not, she’ll move on.

A: 9 times out of 10, I tend to move on. *she laughs*

D: Well, you’ve stuck around with David!

A: *she laughs* Yeah, I did. There you go. One constant!

D: How long have you guys been married?

A: Not even a year. Uhh, past six, maybe seven months?

D: Since May.

M: So 7 months.

A: Yeah.

M: That works. He said that when something catches your eye, you kind of pour yourself into it.

A: Yeah!

M: What caught your eye about David?

A: Oohh, I don’t know. I ignored him for a long time. *David smiles and laughs* What was it? *she asks herself, and wonders*

M: Was it the “play hard to get” kind of ignoring?

A: No… When I was in school, I was just so wrapped up in what I wanted to do that I didn’t pay attention to dating and stuff like that. David pursued me first, and I guess it was just — he’s so sweetly innocent. *David makes a funny face at this, and shakes his head. Andrea laughs* He really just has such a passion and a culture for so many different things… Like other cultures, and I’m from Panama. We grew up in Indiana. So, meeting people who knew a lot about other countries and stuff like that, just wasn’t something you run into all the time. So, it was just that kind of worldly wanting to know about other things, and asking questions, and being so into music — and just a lot of the things that I was really into that I couldn’t really find. Not even in friend-groups that I had in Indiana.

M: So finally, when you did stop ignoring — quote ignoring — and start paying attention, what actually made you start noticing? What was that inflection point?

A: Like what made me quit ignoring?

M: Yes.

A: *she thinks* What was it?  Well, David was… he taught a ballroom club class thing in college which I found really interesting. But I think I started paying more attention to him because he started ignoring me a little bit. *she laughs* I guess was just like, “Oh, I guess he’s not interested anymore. I’m now interested.” It was just, like, on one of the first dates, we talked about the “Phantom of the Opera” and the different music there, and how the inflections change the music. Those kinds of discussions I never got to have with anybody else. I have a passion for so many different things, so finding someone who could kind of balance with me, and actually talk to me about those things is really what caught my attention.

M: *I turn to David* So was the whole ignoring her, was that part of the plan? Or did you actually drop it for a while, and then she came back?

D: Umm… it wasn’t part of the plan necessarily. *he sighs* Okay. So… The irony is I was never into a high-maintenance girl.

A: And I’m very high-maintenance.

D: And she’s very high-maintenance right now. *we all laugh* So when we first started dating, it was, “hey, this girl is really cute. Yeah. Great. We go out on dates or what have you.” But oftentimes, she would just want to — I’m quoting you here, Andrea — just be in the same room as me sort of thing, not doting on her constantly.

A: Really? You’re going to tell him this story? *she’s asking in a half-smile, sarcastic way*

D: Yes! So, I would be in my dorm room at the time. I would be in my dorm room just hacking on some project — coding something. Possibly homework, possibly not. I would be just so immersed in it, and I just kinda want to shut out everything else in the world at the time. Meanwhile, she would be coming over. I would hand her my Android tablet with an emulator on it. She’d play Pokemon on this big 10″ —

A: We’re both major geeks.

D: Yeah, yeah. So she would play on this big 10″ tablet that things were blown totally out of resolution, but she really enjoyed it.

A: It was fun.

D: And we would do that for hours.

A: It was because I appeared not high-maintenance.

D: Exactly!

A: … which wasn’t like a ploy.

D: Yeahhhh *he says this with a heavy dose of skepticism* It was a ploy. *we all laugh* I’m trapped now, but I don’t mind.

M: Well, cool. That’s really funny. I’m curious — so you’re an open-source developer. You’ve mentioned that you like to help others to get their voice heard. What is that voice that Andrea has that you want to maybe share, or really appreciate?

D: Hmm. There are so many ideas that flow with her that it’s hard to pin-point just one.

A: Yeah.

D: I guess one of the more recent ones… she has run into organization issues. Issues of organization, rather. And organizing her life, I’ve tried to apply technical solutions to that. It doesn’t sound like communication, per se, but it really is. It’s like a collaboration sort of issue mixed in there. I’m like, “Oh! Here’s this software to help! Let me help you set up this blogging engine at one point. Here are some documents on how to actually — blogs, best that I can find.” Just anything I can do to help her out. Try to help her make that voice heard, whether it’s real estate or working with kids or what have you.

A: I’m just really chaotic. So him helping me is like focusing in and really get ideas ironed out — really help. Otherwise, I’m just kind of like… all over the place.

M: So I’ll start to kind of wrap this up. I like to ask the Stranger of the Day — in this case, there are two of you — what would you like to ask anyone? Like, if you can ask a Stranger anything, what would you ask? You’ll both have that opportunity, but before, I’d like to ask you what Kathryn, who I met yesterday, wanted to ask you. She wanted to ask, “What is your secret talent?” (Thanks to Kathryn, Stranger 91)

A: Ohh! Wow. Umm… A secret talent… What do I keep secret? Hmm…

D: Not sure if it’s secret, but I’ve got an idea for you. *David smiles*

A: I don’t know! Like, what do I not tell people??

M: Well, do you want to say it, or do you want the other one say it for you?

A: I would like to hear your opinion.

D: Okay. Her secret talent is that she tends to be the queen bee. She has a hive of friends — not to say hive mind, everyone of singular mind, but more like she… People end up looking up to her almost like the matriarch of the group-sort of thing. Go up to her for approval. I’m not even sure how this happens. It just happens to occur like that. People just really enjoy her company. It’s not even anything benevolent or anything. They —

A: It’s just a connection.

D: It’s a connection she makes. So that has to be her secret talent.

A: And in that thing, I guess, I’m on an emotional level with people. God, and yours… Hmm… what is yours…? *she’s thinking*

A: I think it’s kind of the way people feel of us. People don’t expect — because David comes off a little aloof *David makes a face at this like he’s thinking, “WHAT??”* and like, he’s not super engaged with people. But when he gets one-on-one time with people, they just — I mean — they just feel like they can tell the world to him, you know? He’s incredibly sincere. He just has this way of reaching people to the point they just automatically trust you. They feel like they can tell you anything, and it’s true. I think the talent is, you make people feel like they can utterly, completely trust you. And they do. I don’t know — does count as a talent?

M: Yeah! I think your secret talent is that you’re, I think, very authentic. And if you’re authentic, right, you don’t look like you’re someone that’s — *I’m thinking about saying, you don’t look like an a-hole, but I cut myself off* you can be relatable as well. People want to trust you, and let their voice be heard. And then, you turn around and also appreciate that, I think, and help share that. Help amplify that person’s abilities, whether it’s helping Andrea’s organizational skills, but that enables her to continue to be that leader with others. I think that’s it.

A: Yeah!

D: I feel like that’s an accurate description, yeah! *he laughs* I mean, that sounds self-serving to say that, but yeah. I would agree with that.

M: Very cool. Alright, so it’s up to you guys. Your turn. What question would you like to ask tomorrow’s Stranger?

A: Without any boundaries, what is it that you would go do right now? What is it that you’ve always wanted to do that you never let yourself do?

D: … where money and time is no object, that sort of thing?

A: Yeah, no option! Just, who do you want to be that day?

D: Trying to figure out a good one. What’s the motto or the aphorism, or otherwise, the saying that you live by? Some short term or phrase that encompasses how you live your daily life. What you strive to do — that sort of thing.

M: Alright, cool! That’s it!

After the handshakes.

Last Saturday morning, I met Travis and Briana (the combined Stranger 85) at the Toyota Service Center. It was nice to ask and meet two another couple today who I had never met or seen before. They were both real friendly, and still relatively newly weds.

To speaking with groups, it’s been fun to let each person speak of the other(s). It highlights, out loud, what the other person sees in the other. That, to me, is very fascinating. For David and Andrea, it was nice to hear how they kind of started out dating. Also, I could hear and see how they, in many ways, were in different places at the same time. When they did finally date, they weren’t “truly” themselves until later. This was apparent when they both touched on the high-maintenance part. But given time and that early investment in each other, they appreciated each other more and more. So despite having what would be “on paper” not a good fit, they grew to not only appreciate one another in different respects, but also overlooked/ appreciated the high-maintenance aspect. That’s important to realize here.

As a single guy, I’m caught in this swipe left/ swipe right world where we base our interactions (and the sometimes, the most important ones like who we date, and EEK! marry) on initial judgments. Yet, when you talk to some of the older generations, or yes, even to Strangers sitting next to us, the relationships that matter oftentimes stem from situations where we shed those judgments. That’s perhaps why dating online can be hard, and why we tend to value the “organic” day-to-day interactions or real-life meets. But in any case, allowing ourselves to be open to surprise (the good and the bad) yields a far more substantive life and network of relationships.

Side bar: I’m officiant’ing/ wedding minister’ing a third wedding coming up in early January. So I sometimes ask similar questions about how people meet which fascinates me. Could you not tell via this journey about meeting people? 🙂

Meet Andrea and David. No longer Strangers.

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  1. […] people yesterday (they combined into one, they were a couple). Two questions they wanted to ask. Andrea wanted to ask you, “Without any boundaries, what would you go do right now?” (Thanks to […]

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