Thursday, January 8, 2009

Do I have "Dear Abby" Written Across My Forehead?

One thing I have noticed is people (sometimes complete strangers) "spill their guts" to me. I'm not complaining, in fact - I am somewhat flattered, and also somewhat confounded!

Case in point: one day I went in a self-serve shoe store (ie. Payless). When I opened my purse at the checkout - there was a roll of lifesavers Larry had dropped in my purse just for a small surprise. I blurted out "look what my sweet husband did!" and then offered the check-out girl a lifesaver. Well - that just opened the floodgates! She proceeded to tell me her husband had NEVER given her any kind of surprise - big or small - and it just went downhill from there. By the time I got back in the car I knew all about their courtship, their wedding, their children, and everything in between.
The event that began this train of thought tonight happened at the "When Pigs Fly" store today.

Larry was home working on the always messy carport - (see photo above) and Glynn and I were "running the store." Actually, most of the afternoon was spent on the "Tommy bench" outside

(see photos above) - just pontificating about this and that, as well as "people watching." Anyway - one of our regular customers came in the store. He usually pops in and out pretty quickly - but for some reason today he lingered for a really long time. By the time he left, I knew quite a bit about (a) his father (who I assume is deceased), (b) his teenage years, (c) what he and his grandmother and uncles used to do for fun when he was a little boy, (d) his previous line of work, (e) an experience he had that made him re-examine his life and where it was heading, and (f) a new career path he had chosen. All of this is special to him - and I think he enjoyed talking about it (why else would he have done so!).

Later - at supper, Glynn, Larry and I were talking about our day. I mentioned to Larry that this customer was in and seemed to be in a particularly chatty mood - which I found to be out of the norm. I observed that I didn't know why. It was then that Glynn said "I think people just open up to you because you have a way of getting them to talk about themselves." I let that sink in for a few seconds - when it occurred to me WHY I do that- I love hearing what other folks have to say. If we just listen - it is amazing what others "bring to the table."

Is this blog about what a good listener I am? Absolutely not. It is a blog about what each of US can add to someone else's life. I know mine was made richer today by listening to this customer and learning a little bit of what makes him tick.

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