A Moment Out of My Day

My eye doctor’s office must rake in millions every year. Whenever I go there it is filled with people. They have five waiting rooms and every single one of them is crammed. Once you have a chair you don’t leave it for fear it’s going to be commandeered.

In one of the rooms where I was waiting yesterday I sat next to a voluble lady who had a comment – a loud comment – about everything to everyone. I can’t tell a lie, I hauled out my phone and started reading a book. That kept her from bothering me – other than reading over my shoulder. I was kind of tempted to call up a sex scene.

Then it dawned on me that she was exhibiting all the behaviors of someone who was lonely. I mulled on that for a little while, then put away my phone and wondered if I really wanted to engage her in conversation. I didn’t, honestly. She was loud and a little pushy. I didn’t want to call attention to myself. At the same time I felt for her. I had acted just like she was acting at times in my life.

So, she made a comment about a woman’s shoes and I made another comment. Our eyes met. She smiled. To my surprise she didn’t say anything further to me, although she did speak to everyone else who came into the waiting room.

Later, it just so happened that we finished up about the same time. I got to my car and watched as she got into hers. She was a passenger in a car driven by a younger man. I couldn’t hear what he was saying, but it was evident that he was yelling at her.

I don’t know if my initial repudiation of her – by taking out my phone and deliberately ignoring her – was responsible for her not engaging me in conversation. I wish I hadn’t done it now. I also wish I didn’t have an idea about her home life that isn’t very pleasant. And, finally, I wish I didn’t think that she was isolated and alone.

A moment out of my day, that’s all it would have taken. A moment, that’s all, and I’d feel so much better about her. And myself.

12 thoughts on “A Moment Out of My Day”

  1. It’s not always easy getting involved in a stranger’s life. I work with the public now and it’s amazing how much and what some people will bring up to almost a stranger. I eventually get to know the regulars. I basically like people so always have a smile. I may comment about the weather but I leave it up to them if they really want to chat. Even when I’m busy, I try to give them the time they need.

    • I am blown away by what people admit on YouTube. I think the internet has had a deleterious effect on our concept of privacy. Good for you for always smiling. Sometimes, it’s not easy.

  2. If I need to wait somewhere, I always have my kindle or a book. But, at the same time, I am a people watcher. I talk to people. I tell people on the street that they look nice, or that their shirt, pants, dress, whatever is a great color, or looks good.

    When I was traveling on planes very frequently, I would end up hearing from someone next to me and I would learn who they were, how they were doing, what worried them, what made them happy. I must have the kind of face that is non- threatening.

    People need someone to talk to about life. I once worked for the Gallup Poll. Because people on the phone related to me, I was assigned a survey from a midwest State government. It was about health and health care and it could take as long as 45 minutes…..think about that….being on the phone with a stranger for 45 minutes. I got the assignment because people would talk to me.

    I learned about people’s feelings, and their fears and their dreams.

    When we truly listen to someone, we are giving them a priceless gift.

    I am so very glad you talked to the lady. I wish that everyone we see was in a place in life which provided them with the feeling that they are valued. You gave her that feeling for a time. You should be proud of yourself for giving her that gift.

    • I have to admit, Annette, that I’ve become more guarded in public. I used to find one thing to compliment about anyone I met. Now? I mainly remain quiet. I think it has something to do with being rebuffed once or twice. It’s time, however, for me to get over that.

      I didn’t do enough for that woman and I know it. I feel it. But maybe it was a lesson for me to learn when it happens again.

  3. We never know what someone is going through. Let’s say a prayer
    for her.

    I love to read and I always have a
    book with me. I’m glad you spoke
    to her.


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