Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I Am That Lady

I am that lady.  You know, the one who stands behind you in the checkout line and strikes up a conversation with you about the weather, or the price of milk.

I'm pretty outgoing by nature, but I didn't always talk to strangers.  Let me tell you how I came to this point.

After I started adding children to my family, and I was at home a lot I became lonely.  My days stretched before me long and unending with only laundry, and dishes to break the monotony.

I felt hurt and ignored when the phone remained silent and no one stopped by.  Had my friends forgotten me?  I pouted silently when my mailbox was empty, and the clerk in the store didn't even say "hi".

Couldn't anybody see how starved for adult conversation I was?

Then, one day I was waiting in a line--it might have been at the post office, or the grocery store.  The location really doesn't matter.  I noticed the lady behind the counter, I had seen her enough that I knew her face, but today it looked a little different.  Her hair was a little out of place, and her eyes looked tired.

I quickly read her name tag, took a deep breath, and said "How are you today Phyllis?"

Her head came up in surprise, and she answered "I'm tired."

"Working too hard?" I questioned.

What happened next took me by surprise.  She told me her husband had died unexpectedly last year, and left behind a lot of debt.  She was working two jobs, and she couldn't sleep well at night.  She told me about the five cats she had rescued from the animal shelter, and how they kept her company since her husband had passed away.

Phyllis and I saw each other off and on for the next several years until her retirement.  I always enjoyed chatting with her, and I would plan my errands to fall during her work shift.  Since she has retired I rarely see her anymore.

However, I learned an important lesson the day I first talked to Phyllis.  There are a lot of lonely people out there, and if you are one of them I have the perfect solution.


Reach out!


If you are willing to get out of your comfort zone a little and strike up a conversation you may make a new friend.  Sometimes my efforts are met with a cold stare, but more often than not I end up chatting with somebody new.

And even when I never see them again I walk away with a warm feeling in my heart.

Oh, and I'm almost never lonely anymore. :)