Monday, March 05, 2007

Peer Counselor?

What is it about me that screams "Strangers, please tell me all about your life! I can't wait to hear about your divorce, neices, and travel arrangements."
I have not figured out why, but weird strangers seem to find me approachable. I know that having two adorable children with me tends to get old people wanting to tell me about their neices, nephews, and grandchildren. Their ages and the cute things they do. Having a child with a band-aid on her head has seemed to attract even more people to talk to me about the woes and joys of children.
This last Saturday was a particularly annoying case. I was at a Super Wal-Mart with the whole family. We were picking Tucker some new shoes, as one of his favorite "strap overs" had been tragically lost. While trying his shoes on him a handicapped man, probably in his late 50's approached in a motorized cart, followed by a strange gray haired woman with her own cart, who was obviously with him. Trent and Charlotte were standing near-by and the man who appeared to be passing through- this was after all the children's sizes, asked if we were having fun looking for shoes. We replied that we were indeed. But suddenly all that changed. He stopped in his tracks and began to tell me "he knows how it is". I supposed he meant having children or something along those lines. Trent slowly backed off, while the man continued. He told me where I should go to get shoes. Seeing as I had just chosen a pair for Tucker I wasn't interested much, but nodded and smiled. He continued telling me that the guy there (on Dobson and Broadway) has been taking care of him for years and that though it would cost me a little more, around $50 for Tucker that it would be a good idea. While I wanted to reply that I came to Wal-Mart specifically for convenience and cheap prices, as kid shoes are grown out of super fast and/or lost before I would get $50 worth, still I sat there smiling in spite of my growing irritation. Right when I thought he was done and about to move on, considering he had to be noticing that he was blocking the entire isle and several people had turned around to go another way, he began to tell me about how he was divorced and years ago had traveled several times a year several hundred miles to visit his daughter for birthdays and Christmas. Then he told me his beginning and ending points of travel, informing me that I could look it up on a map. Finally it seemed he was done and he began to move on. That's when the woman behind him briefly told me about her niece before wishing me a good day and heading out of the aisle.
I had survived.
I do not go to WalMart to socialize and my goal is usually to get out of there as fast as possible. Not to seem unfeeling, but unless I know you please keep walking when you see me in public.

If this seems a bit harsh, that's not what was intended. I just thought I would share this less than exciting bit of my weekend.


Klin said...

Honestly, I think it is the fact that you have kids. Older people are often times lonely (sorry for the stereotype) and I think that they think we as mothers are lonely. I, too, have endured their great bits of helpful advice and wisdom.

I was annoyed, because I knew how I wanted my kids raised and I still think that I know how to do that best.

You are forgiven for any thoughts you may have had that were less than Christlike!

You have 2 beautiful children and you are pregnant (which contributed to me being a bit testy for 12 or so months;-)!

Gina said...

Some people are just plain and simply socially inept. That said, they probably won't be too offended if you interupted the story and left the scene...

I don't go in public much and when I do, with Liam, I try my best to avoid eye contact with just about everyone. Because I KNOW they will have something to say about his cuteness or otherwise. I have yet to have a dumb conversation with a stranger.

I consider you very kind for enduring their stories.

Tori :) said...

People seem to do that with me too. I think it is the overly-beautiful children that attract them. :)
I always try to be nice when weird people talk to me, but Sei always steps in with something like "Didn't I see you in jail last week?" or "There's a warrant out for you right now..." ;)
You handled it very well.

Melanie M. McKinnon said...

People come up to me all the time telling me how cute gracie is. it really threw me off when we first moved here because no one does that in utah since children are everywhere. i haven't gotten scary advice from old men, though. i'm looking forward to it.

Busy Bee Lauren said...

The other day, at work, this woman I was helping began to tell me all about her daughter. I bent down to get something...and all of a sudden she started playing with my hair! A COMPLETE STRANGER! She said, "ohh my daughter will have curly hair like this someday...she will hate it." I didn't know what to say...

Gina said...

Tori's comments cracked me up! Oh my that is funny! And Melmck has a point... hmmm, maybe I CAN make eye contact and be okay.

Lauren's story, wow, that lady was nutso!

Susan said...

Working at a preschool make me a therapist I have found out. I especially love the ones where the single mom tells me that she got pregnant by "accidentally" cheating on her boyfriend.