I have had many people mention to me that they think I have never met a stranger, but honestly I think it boils down to the fact that I must look like I want to listen. Now don't get me wrong, I LOVE meeting people, usually. It is has changed a bit in the past few years. I think it comes with me being a mom and way paranoid about people around my children. Where did this come from, not sure, but it has made it harder for me to try and meet people when i have my kids around. Or maybe it is because I am too busy trying to keep them from running off and knocking over bystanders. But that is a tangent.
When I was in school becoming and then later working as a Social Worker I found this little "gift" (you know the one I mentioned above, "looking like I want to listen") kinda handy. It made my job a bit easier because people would unload, or disclose if you are in the biz. It can be handy for making friends too.
But let me tell you, it has some major downfalls. One that I noticed sometime ago, unrequited love. I don't mean mine either! I had more than one fella express his interest in me and I had no idea why. I mean, I know I am quite the catch and the ENTIRE human race should be aching to be near me, but I thought I was doing my best to throw the "no" signal, without being rude. Especially since they were all friends of mine, or at least friends of friends, or at least the drive through attendant at Taco Bell! What I could best figure was they felt some connection to me because they had noticed I looked like I wanted to listen and they spilled their guts. Their deepest darkest fears, their big golden dreams. And OBVIOUSLY you only tell those things to someone you like! Oops! Wrong. You just thought you liked me BECAUSE you told me those things. By the way, there is some scientific proof to this concept, but I will not be discussing it here.
Second major downfall of looking like I want to listen is I get stuck LISTENING! Now I don't mean people I actually want to listen too. I don't mind listening to good friends talk. I mean the stranger I don't know who stops me on my way to the restroom when my bladder is about to explode because I am 11 months pregnant! If I really wanted to hear what you had to say I would ask you to follow me and talk while I peed. Or if I was feeling polite I would ask you to pause and I will come back. But with strangers, well, I really don't want to take a pee break with them. Nor do I want to return to continue the conversation we shouldn't be having in the first place because I DON'T KNOW YOU!
Here are a couple of examples. I do a lot of my shopping late int he evening because it works best for my schedule. I don't have to take the kids because Hubbs is watching them and I get a mini vacation. I can truly meditate on which bunch bananas will meet my families picky eating needs. One night while at the store alone I decided to buy some yogurt for Hubbs' lunches for the next week. Oh the fateful yogurt. Why did you call to me? As I was digging through the refrigerator case to find just the right type and flavor it happened! Ms. Chatterbox cornered me. She trapped me with her cart and WOULD NOT STOP TALKING! I heard all she had to say about the stores price fixing and conspiracy to snatch every single one of her hard earned pennies. This was amusing to me to some degree since she had a bunch of junk in her cart. I was half tempted to ram her cart and run with all my might. It wasn't like I would see her again, right? Oh no, I was wrong. You see, she kept popping-up throughout my shopping experience. As if enduring her 3 minute rant on Cool Whip in a can wasn't enough. I know 3 minutes may not seem that long, but try timing it and thinking about being stuck in halfway in a refrigerator case listening to a crazy woman, not knowing exactly how long you had to remain there, contemplating whether you should begin to place your frozen items in the case for safe keeping)
So at the check out I chose failed to use the fast cashier choosing method learned. (for those of you that don't know, usually the ugliest cashier is the fastest! Hey, don't judge me, I didn't not make them look ugly, I am just sharing the knowledge bequeathed to me. It works.) So I was in the SLOWEST line ever. Guess you shows up 3 carts behind me. You guessed it, Ms. Chatterbox. As the cashier was ringing-up the person in front of me Ms.Chatterbox walked up to me and starts to continue on with her diatribe about "Kroger: the Conspiracy." Mind you, at this point I tried not to make any eye contact, but it was hard. I was just in so much disbelief. She finally returned to her cart. She continued to talk to me though. She felt it was madness we had to wait in a line so long. She then noticed something in my cart and decided she HAD to have it. SO she asked me to move her cart for her if the line moved. At least I think she was asking me. She could have been asking the young boy behind me eyeing a snickers bar. It was a bit hard to tell with her lazy eye. (I guess in her case, she would NOT have been the fastest cashier) I am not totally sure how she expected me to move her cart. I was already at the cashier by that point. I guess I was suppose to excuse myself and climb over all the carts behind me.
The second situation has happened on multiple occasions. As we are preparing to leave somewhere someone corners me and talks my ear off about who knows what. Mean time Hubbs and the kids begin to walk off. Apparently, the "talker" can't see that my ride if LEAVING ME! Hubbs usually returns with 3 crazed kids running around like dogs chasing their tails. This honestly happened to me. I teach a lesson at church and someone catches me in the hall to tell me every thought they had during the lesson. Why they didn't share it at the appropriate time, during the lesson, and feel the need to share it during the inappropriate time, after the lesson, I am not sure. And frankly, your personal thoughts are not what I am interested in now. I am interested in getting home and feeding my growling tummy. And maybe a few kids too. Hubbs might even get a snack if he is good and comes and RESCUES ME!
I recognize I love to talk to. I even love to listen and enjoy a good story. Especially from my friends and family. So most likely, if you are reading this, I won't mind listening to you. So PLEASE don't stop talking to me because you are afraid I am talking about you right now. Just don't corner me.