Please Don’t Talk to Me
I am rarely in a mood not to talk. Whether it’s through face-to-face conversation, phone calls, text messages, or comments on social media, I get my energy from interacting with others. But sometimes, I need a break and want to just disconnect. I was having one of these moments when I took my girl to swim lessons the other night but it just didn’t happen.
I was sitting, scrolling through my newsfeed, when the lady next to me asked me if Josephine was scared of the water. I paused for second and laughed, explaining that no she wasn’t, but that my son was (her twins looked about the same age) and then looked back at my phone, hoping for some quiet. Then she asked me where I bought my pants. The question struck me as odd at first because they were not the most flattering pair of pants I own (I was having one of my ‘Y’all better be glad these aren’t pajamas’ days) but I know that when you’re in the Thick Thighs Club, finding pants can be hard. I told her where I’d bought them and then went back to my phone – hoping she’d stop talking. But she didn’t. She then went on to talk about her struggles with her weight and the various things she’d tried. I listened, occasionally interjecting, and nodding my head. The whole time I was thinking that I’d never seen this woman before and may never see her again. But here she was, telling me all kinds of stuff about her – things that most people wouldn’t share with a complete stranger. She thanked me for listening and said she hoped she’d see me again because she too was a talker.
As I’ve thought about it over the last few days I’ve wondered why of all the people there, she chose to talk to me. It’s dawned on me that maybe she was lonely. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not asking for or think I deserve a pat on the back for talking to this woman; I spent the first five minutes of our conversation hoping she’d leave because I was tired and cranky. But maybe I was the friendly face she needed to unload some of her frustrations to. Maybe she felt like I was safe to talk to. I don’t know that I’ll ever know – Josephine got moved to a different time – but the whole thing has stuck with me.
We live in a world where people are afraid or ashamed to be who they are. We live in a world where people interact more through electronic devices than in person. We live in a world that doesn’t feel safe anymore. We live in a world of people. People who need others to help them navigate life or simply someone to listen to their rambling thoughts. So the next time someone starts talking and you’re not in the mood to listen – think twice. You may just find your new best friend.