If Ricochet embodies any lesson, it's the educational potential of casual conversation.
As I was getting a tire repaired today, I spoke with an Air Force veteran who taught me a little about the history of Continental Airlines, USAF bases around the country and how they have been adapted or closed, obsolete air-conditioning systems of the 1970s, and how a boy's unfamiliarity with firearms contributed to the tragic death of his son. All of this in less than an hour. Last time I was in a tire shop, I had a long conversation with a friend of Ted Poe, my Congressman, about the challenges of being a junior Representative.
I can't even begin to recount all the knowledge and perspective I have acquired through casual conversations with associates and with strangers. Some persons — like the sort so regularly found on Ricochet — relay such a wealth of experience that I would gladly trade half my books for a weekend of chatting on a back porch.
Formal education has its benefits, too, of course. But there's so much to be learned that is not prefaced by a cover or description. Inviting conversations with strangers is a skill I am only beginning to learn, but one well worth pursuing.
Do Ricochet's more sociable members have any tips for striking up more-than-topical conversations with strangers?