I took a job in Yellowknife in the mid-90s, shortly after the Giant Mine bombing in which 9 strike-breakers were killed. The small town was divided, shaken, and an air of suspicion and danger still lurked in the air. As a stranger, I felt vulnerable. One night, I went to a laundromat on the outskirts of town, and was a bit dismayed to see a rough-looking group of people hanging out there and doing a bit of brown-paper bag drinking. I put my wash on, left for a safer waiting area, and came back to move my clothes to the dryer. One man was still there, and he had barely healed, stitched scars on his face. I imagined these to be the result of a knife fight. I felt unsafe. I avoided eye contact, and intently watched the Celine Dion special that was airing on the laundromat TV. Finally, he broke the ice and said, in a most kind and soft manner: “Isn’t the human voice wonderful!” We had a short, friendly conversation, and I left with clean dry clothes, and an appreciation for both Celine and for conviviality.
Trigger - Goes to the laundromat while being new in town.
Problem - Needs to stay safe while still getting clean clothes.
Quest - Goes elsewhere for safety, then has to return to put his laundry in the dryer.
Resolution - Has an unexpectedly warm conversation
Purpose - Appearances can be deceiving? Taking time to reach out to a stranger can benefit both parties?