Idle Chat

Photo by Erik Scheel on

When I was younger and working or going to school fulltime (sometimes a bit of both) I would always get so frustrated with people who chatted. I just wanted to get in and out of a store quickly as possible so I could get home to study or sleep. But to my horror, the little old lady in front of me would inevitably begin an in-depth conversation with the cashier. I think cashiers are trained to chat a bit, make people feel welcome and listened to, but I would always be dancing in place silently begging them to hurry the fuck up.

Now as a member of the chronically lonely club I am on the opposite side of the argument. If cashiers DON’T talk to me I get annoyed and dub them ‘rude’. Sometimes the 5 minutes at the till is the only human contact I have in a day. Also getting there and shopping are so monumental to me it seems fitting to be rewarded with a little idle chatter.

Yesterday in the ill-named “express lane” at Walmart two older couples, one on either side of me, began talking. In the past I would have been reading a book- but now I joined right in. We talked about the economy, Jimmy Pattison, and why the self-check out is destroying lives.

I am so lonely I now feel inclined to talk to just about anyone about just about anything!

Luckily my husband will be coming home on a more permanent basis (meaning only going away a few days at a time instead of weeks). He uproots my schedule and routines but I wouldn’t change it. Having someone to bounce your ideas off of, someone to talk about the future with is priceless. I have so much sympathy now for the widow living alone and I will never brush off her conversations again.

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