October 25, 2011

Getting the "411" on "211" from the United Way

When you live in an apartment building, like I used to in Courthouse, Arlington, VA, you meet some rather interesting characters in the elevator.

For example:
  • Fellow runners, cyclists, and golfers
  • A heavy-set, balding, clearly-closeted fellow and his "girlfriend"
  • Most of a men's volleyball/basketball team (based on their height and physique)
  • Young women trying not to be noticed on their walk-of-shame to the metro
One day I stepped into the elevator and noticed a lady, maybe 50 years-old or so, and she was wearing a "211" pin. Too often, on elevators and the metro, everyone rides in silence.

I don't like silence.

I'd rather meet people.
It's fun and interesting and each person has a story to tell or something of value to share.
Yes, I'm that "weird" guy that talks to strangers anywhere I go.

So I said hello and asked what the "211" meant. She explained that it's a phone service similar to dialing "411" or "911", but specifically to get information on food, housing, healthcare, and counseling.
"211" is run by the Department of Social Services, in conjunction with the United Way. If you're curious about all the services they provide, you can learn more at http://www.211.org/

Neato, huh? While I don't necessarily need "211" right now, I'm glad I didn't just stay quiet on that elevator ride, because now I know something I hadn't known before, and maybe it'll come in handy sometime.

Have you ever met someone interesting in an elevator? I'd love for you to either share your story here in the comments, or blog about it (and then make sure to share the URL in the comments here, of course).


  1. I met Johnny Galecki from the Big Bang Theory in the elevator once. So not life changing. But I DO try to have rather hilarious conversations with people I am with and watch the strangers just to see if I can get them to crack a smile.

  2. You got that hankering to talk to strangers from Dad. We all did and I love it! At the moment, I can't think of anything particularly interesting, though yesterday I was on my cell phone in the elevator, and another guy stepped on who was ALSO on his cell phone. We were both very mindful not to make eye contact. It made me giggle!

  3. Oh! Another time, an older man gave me his card, said he was in the "movie industry" and told me to give him a call. I was so excited I'd been discovered... until I looked up his website and realized he ran a makeover business and apparently thought I needed help. Hmph.

  4. Well, it wasn't in the elevator. But, last week I hiked Angel's Landing & my friends and I were the group who might annoy others because we were constantly talking to people we passed on the trail. We met so many interesting people, including a foreign exchange student from Germany. We also met two guys who were choosing to hike Angel's Landing barefoot. But, anyway, I'm right there with you on not liking silence! It drives me crazy.