People Are Fine. The Rest of the World Is Nuts.

 

For the past 10 or 15 years, I’ve spent a day or two or month in our little downtown. My business has an account at one bank; JY and I do business at another across the street. Our car payment was at the Wells Fargo a few blocks south.

COVID shut all the branches down, so I finally got on board and made all my payments online.

I don’t think I noticed how much I missed it until today.

I was at work, bored to tears (boss is out of town), and walked to the post office to mail my daughter her mail. (At what point do you stop receiving your children’s mail? Fifteen years and counting for me.) Of course, it was closed because of Columbus Day. At the first locked door I figured it out and hollered “Columbus Day” to a woman with her granddaughter who approached the door after me. We chatted for a bit … long enough for her to ask me if I thought she should get her long hair cut, and how gray was it in the back? She admired my haircut, and I shared the name and phone number of my hairdresser. I inquired about her accent, she shared that she was a war bride from Malta, where some of my relatives have vacationed!

We bid each other adieu when I was approached by someone stymied by the locked door, desperate to get something shipped. I gave her directions to the UPS store where I have a box.

As I headed back to work, I ran into an old boyfriend of my daughter’s who shared our dinner table often. He was thrilled to share he was married and had a daughter on the way. I popped into a restaurant to order a sandwich to go and ran into one of my favorite tellers from a shutdown branch. Her four kids are fine, and she has started her own business and is doing well.

I have prided myself that COVID has not stopped me and my family from one moment of gathering and celebration. We had Thanksgiving and Christmas and a crawdaddy boil for the books. Easter included an egg hunt for the little ones and a beer hunt for the bigger ones. We went to Texas for birthdays and Utah to celebrate the Fourth.

But I didn’t realize until today how much I had missed talking to strangers. Unforgivable, as I’ve always said it was my favorite part of being an adult (that and eating between meals).

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  1. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Annefy: But I didn’t realize til today how much I had missed talking to strangers. Unforgivable, as I’ve always said it was my favorite part of being an adult (that and eating between meals)

    Yep. One never knows when a stranger will convert into an acquaintance and then into a friend.

    • #1
  2. Kephalithos Member
    Kephalithos
    @Kephalithos

    Talking to strangers? People still do that?

    • #2
  3. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Kephalithos (View Comment):

    Talking to strangers? People still do that?

    It’s fun. The stranger the better.

    • #3
  4. Phil Turmel Coolidge
    Phil Turmel
    @PhilTurmel

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Kephalithos (View Comment):

    Talking to strangers? People still do that?

    It’s fun. The stranger the better.

    Yup, and in all the places where it’s frowned upon.  Including all the forbidden topics.  The eye-rolls I get from my daughter in public are epic.

    • #4
  5. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Phil Turmel (View Comment):

    Yup, and in all the places where it’s frowned upon.  Including all the forbidden topics.  The eye-rolls I get from my daughter in public are epic.

    Just don’t discuss math. It’s racist. 😜

    • #5
  6. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Very good post and so so true.  Human contact, even just a hello and a wave or a smile is very uplifting.  Being penned up and not communicating in person is so unhealthy. You pointed out all the proof!  Not to mention those banking employees and sandwich shops and post offices employ people!

    • #6
  7. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    I don’t generally talk to strangers, but I do strongly value seeing people out and about and exchanging greetings (I guess I’m a weird variant on introvert). Since I don’t talk to people, most of my general human interaction is through facial expression. Which means widespread masking greatly limits my general human interaction. Fortunately, in my town masking is nowhere near universal. But my pastor (a self-acknowledged extrovert who will talk to anyone) and I have had some interesting discussions about our different experiences with isolation and face coverings to understand those different experiences. 

    • #7
  8. Norm McDonald Bought The Farm Coolidge
    Norm McDonald Bought The Farm
    @Pseudodionysius

    My choice of outerwear precludes meeting many new people. Its a straight jacket.

    • #8
  9. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    I do some volunteer work in the gardens at church. It’s amazing the wonderful people I meet who stop to talk to me. We have become friends. One fellow turned out to work in Underground Nuclear Testing at the Nevada test site, where Mr. C started his career. We’re waiting for him to recover from valve replacement surgery so we can have him over for a glass of wine and share the view of the mountains. You can only make new friends. And the only way to do that is through these initial interactions. 

    Lovely post, Anne. 

    • #9
  10. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    Annefy, how true are your reflections that interacting as one boisterous American to another is soul enriching.

    I keep being grateful that right now my county is pretty much wide open. There probably are several places that are still clamping down, but I have avoided all those for 16 months now.

    I am hearing San Francisco is horrible right now. I guess it is going to be like Australia there very soon.

    Each week, I make a point of calling an acquaintance who lives in the Bronx. She is in her 80’s and since all the BLM stuff went on last year, she has become fearful about leaving her home. Recently women have been raped in the park adjacent to her residence – in broad day light. Two years ago, she thought nothing of walking about her neighborhood. Now she foregoes that pleasure.

    She is so bereft of human companionship. At her age, she has lost so many friends. So that adds to her situation. Her education, background and careful planning for her “Golden years” should have left her comfortable. But how can a person feel comfortable if they cannot go outside?

    Meanwhile other older people I know in the Niagara Falls area are still enjoying their lives.

    It is so extremely sad that some of our once great cities have become cesspools.

     

    • #10