The Stranger’s Highlight Reel: Phds & Professional Hockey Players

This past weekend my girlfriend and I stole laughs from strangers amongst crowded bars and listened to their, “highlight reel”. We determined that each of us, ourselves included, has a, “highlight reel” that we share with new people. These highlight reels provided us with quick feelings of infatuation.

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Over the weekend some of their highlight reels included, “professional hockey player”,

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“Living alone in Ohio”.

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“Born in Vancouver, living in Florida. I have a Phd from Australia”.

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We engross ourselves in tales from strangers of their drug lord uncle who was finally busted.

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Did he put up a fight?

The guy that is the CEO of his own successful company he started when he was only 15 years old.

The guy who looks after his struggling brother in their penthouse apartment.

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The underdog who worked his way to the top.

The guy that’s already been married and divorced at 28 years old.

The guy that wants to change people’s lives for the better.

The guy that teaches little kids their first instrument.

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The guy that plants trees and studies soils and streams.

The guy that was once homeless. 

The guy that wants to go to school in Ireland.

The guy that did go to school in Ireland, with the love of his life.

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Maybe there aren’t enough chick flicks on Netflix, because there’s nothing I love more than dissecting a stranger’s broken heart. It’s addictive. I don’t want to hear about your favourite colour, I want to know about the joy you felt playing in the mud, catching frogs at 6 years old and how freaked out you were the first time you squeezed that frog too hard.

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So we danced with maracas & sombreros and made strong, “you’re my human, I pick you” eye contact across the bar. We then celebrated those choices with tequila. Lots of tequila.

Tequila makes the highlight reels more interesting.

They’ll tell you about their father who had a heart attack, or their Grandma that won the lottery.

Strangers never cease to surprise me.

An NHL hockey player (something I only found out from google) grabbed my guitar over my body parts (impressive right) and played me the intro to fiddler’s green.

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He came to say bye to me on Sunday, and I hugged him with the, “see you never stranger” quote. He answered with, “You said that two nights ago, yet here I am”.

He shut the door and I watched through the glass as he retreated into the expensive car that he never bragged/told me about. I couldn’t help but look out the window again and see if he still sat in the car under the tree in front of my house, which he did. I felt relieved.

My curiosity had me checking again, and the spot where his car was lay empty… and it made me sad. As quickly as these strangers with their highlight reel come into your life, they disappear. You feel like a piece of you goes with them. The laughs and stories you shared are now driving off to another country… and you’re alone on the floor of your bedroom in front of the heater with a dark cellphone and a warm tea.

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Then you start reminiscing of these moments of hysterical laughter that you’ve shared with pilots, dentists, musicians, actors, environmentalists, salesmen, and athletes.

The 6’3 boyfriend that fell even more in love with you when he was kicked out of the party and you chose to freeze your ass off together with sweaters for blankets in the backseat of a tiny Volkswagen. A sleep so uncomfortable that you woke up at 5 AM outside of the nearby barn soaking wet from the dewey grass.

The guy that said he’d like to marry you someday at the top of the ferris wheel.

The fire in his eyes when he explained how he started his own business.

The dead pan gaze and averted eyes when he told you what happened to his father.

These moments that humanize us. The passionate people that ignite a drive within ourselves that we didn’t even know existed.

Thank you for coming into my life, if only for a moment.

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