It doesn't seem to matter where I am; the post office, the grocery store, the bank or local Costco...there always seems to be someone that is going to tell me something personal about themselves....and I don't KNOW these people.
Maybe I should take it as a compliment. That I'm so approachable that the most random of people that I come across in the daily arena of life would feel compelled to share with me their secrets. However, for the most part, it makes me rather uncomfortable. And I'm just too damn nice to walk away....
There have been times when I'm alone that this phenomena occurs. I usually come home to share my daily 'weirdness' with the household. They all laugh and shake their heads. But it doesn't always happen when out by myself. There are others that have witnessed this odd occurance. Last week, when at Costco, a lady in line told me all about the baby gift basket she was purchasing for her sister. Her sister had in vitro insemination from an 'outside source' because her husband didn't have the sperm count to father a child. Okay, wow...way too much information. And yes, she said 'outside source' in a whisper...all secret like, which of course makes me wonder if it was in vitro at all or some story that the sister concocted to cover the fact the the UPS guy has been delivering packages to her house often. I thought, "Wow, this IS a long line today but you've been in line with me for what?, 40 seconds?" HOW did I manage to get all that information in such a short period of time!
My daughter asked me as we were leaving and the 'nice lady' in line behind us was waving goodbye to me, "Mommy, who was that?" Now what do I tell my 10 year old. The truth, as in, "How the f*ck would I know?" NO, of course not. I said, "Sweatheart, it's someone who is lonely and needed to talk". "Oh." she responded. Obviously distressed while processing this thought. She was thinking about how random people will in the future will possibly intrude on her own private space.
My friend Chrissy thinks that I bring this upon myself. That I'm too friendly and it opens some weird divide that she has been able to so meticulously put into place. One time, years ago, she accompanied me to pick up my ex-husband from the airport. I knew that he has a weakness for White Chocolate Chip Macadamia nut cookies...so I bought a few for him at the cookie joint before his plane landed. The lady working there told me about her latest raise, that her boyfriend brought her flowers and that her mom was getting married again. Okay...? I don't know you.....why are you telling me this in an airport?
Chrissy laughed, but it was pretty obvious see that she was bothered by this exchange.
She had driven to the airport. So when my husband arrived I gave him the cookies, we retrieved his baggage and we proceeded to her car. He doesn't do backseats so I rode in the backseat. Chrissy paid the cashier, pulled forward a car length and then stopped. We both turned to look at her to see if something was wrong, if she had dropped something or what the deal was. She turned around to me and asked, "Should I back up so you can speak with her? I realize that you didn't get the opportunity to say good bye."
I about peed my pants laughing. Funny girl that Chrissy...
I think it's about the 'stove pipe syndrome'....some things that people feel the need to talk about but don't have anyone that will listen. Or that if they tell a stranger, they've gotten it out but not had to divulge any information that will maybe find it's way back to them.
But so goes my life. I continue to be asked odd questions by strangers when standing in line. I'm asked directions when I'm out walking and get downright confessions from people in restaurants and bars. It's all rather interesting if you view the big picture. I should probably start taking photographs of the people that talk to me, write down their stories and put together a coffee table book.
"Random Encounters" is a potential title, but that's sounds a little racy. People might think they are buying something other than random stories. Or maybe, "Why are you telling me this?"or perhaps a simple, "What the F**k?" I wonder if I'll should start carrying waivers with me....I think that as f8hasit, I will.