We were taking a ferry from Seattle to the Kitsap Penninsula today. Toward the end of the ride, a lone man approached my wife and me to comment on the beautiful sunset. He seemed friendly, and we chatted for a while. He mentioned a job in telecommunications, and I said he looked more like the artist type to me. He was dressed in an eclectic jacket with big buttons, a V-neck shirt, and a necklace that looked like a claw of some sort. His hair was, well, big, and further exaggerated by the stiff wind. Sure enough, he’s a musician.

We talked about mandolin fingering and the bizarre string layout on ukuleles, and then one of the kids made a disparaging remark about my kazoos. Well, that led us down a path of kazobos, wazoos, and electric kazoo pickups. As we parted, I promised to send him information about the Kazoobie electric kazoo.

I was dressed plainly – jeans and a T-shirt. I was even giving my hiking boots a well-deserved rest for the day, and was wearing my sneakers. It’s hard to dress artistically when you have to pack light because of limited luggage room. So our new artist friend was pleasantly surprised after he first approached us to find us talking about kazoo lore and chickens on a road trip.

The thing that stuck with me was when he encouraged us to “talk to strangers”. It turns out that’s the name of his album. I have the feeling that’s a key part of his philosophy of life.

(The stranger’s name is Joe Abrams.)