You've probably been in this situation: Just as you sit down in a cafe and sip your drink or pick up that long-ignored book, a stranger begins to chat.
"Oh, hey, we have the same coffee! Ha Ha!"
"Do you like that book? I liked that book. Especially the ending when Jane dies."
As an introvert, I enjoy conversations with strangers as much as the next person -- which is to say, not at all -- so I'm always at odds about what to do. Do I smile politely and move a table over? Say I'm too busy... reading? Or do I join in? In truth, I've tried everything. I've also pretended to be deaf and/or a tourist, using what I like to think is a new version of French-American Sign Language whose basic message is universal: Stop talking to me.
I've always wondered what compels people to go out of their way to speak with strangers. If someone's hair was on fire or her leg was about to fall off, sure, I might speak up. But most of the time I just sit there and wonder: How does one become a Chatty Patty, and why do they always target me?