A friend has a phrase she uses about me: I am popular with strangers. It’s an odd thing. I’m not that approachable and yet random strangers, usually men, feel the need to strike up conversations with me.

I talk to them. I’m polite. And then I move away from them. I don’t want to be stabbed or followed. I’m not an idiot.

I was talking to a stranger recently about the interface between the online world and the real world. It made me think about how I sometimes want to tell people I admire that I like what they do, but won’t let myself. Not face to face. The few times I have, it has been awkward and disappointing. Apart from Damon Gough. He’s a delight.

It happened accidentally once at a gig. I visited the merch stand to buy a CD. The singer took off the cellophane and signed the sleeve. The unwanted autograph then made me feel like I had to have a conversation. But what do you say to someone you don’t know? It was awful. Especially because it was obvious he didn’t want to be in the conversation either.

All very unfortunate.

Don’t do it kids.