Talking to Strangers,Truth, Small Towns

I work retail. People find me and talk to me. Tell me their stories or problems, good things or bad. I just listen. Makes me feel part of humanity as a whole. A moment of unity. But also I know that the person I’m talking to could be making it all up. Which is fine by me. I write stories and poems, so it is good fodder for my imagination regardless of whether or not it is true.

I’ve heard of there being three truths in a conversation between two people or groups. There is the truth of one person, the truth of the other person and then there is the truth that only the universe (or God, Goddess or some sort of divinity, if you prefer) knows and doesn’t really care about because it is trivial most of the time anyway, to the universe. I’m obviously of the opinion that I am insignificant to the universe. That does not mean I am insignificant to myself though, nor do I believe that I am insignificant to my loved ones. It’s complicated, of course, all beliefs of each individual should be because they are theirs and no one else’s. That whole deal of “I’m unique like everyone else” applies here.

So, I started this with people talking to me while I’m at work or really anywhere as I’ve gotten older and apparently look it.*sigh*

Irony. I was talking with an associate and she was agreeing with me that it seems people like to talk to strangers because it is cathartic. They know at some level of consciousness that they will never have to see this stranger again and they will never come across anyone that was included in the story, so what would it hurt to unload on a totally unbiased stranger?

She told me  an anecdote on how she was compelled to tell a stranger, that happened to stop by the steps to her house (there was no mention of how the conversation got started.) all about her horrible divorce. She cried, they laughed together, the stranger related to her story. And she said she remembered thinking how she will never see this person again and how good it felt to get it off her chest, all the emotional crap associated with her divorce. Then the most devastating thing happened. The stranger introduced herself as my co-worker’s new neighbor, right next door, and if she needed anything that is where she could find her. My co-worker said she was mortified. Why do you think this is? Because we can’t handle some stranger being so emotionally and physically close to us? Almost like living in a small town, you know what I mean? In a city we thrive on anonymity.

I think it is fascinating the difference between the closeness of a small town and the need for anonymity in a city. I suppose it is because cities are melting pots of race, creed, beliefs, etc. While small towns, generally, cling to one of those things. I used to live in a smaller city. I was at a grocery store and I helped some stranger and they said “God bless you.” I wasn’t used to this, especially when a person means it as an actual blessing rather than a statement of conviction (with an ingredient of you-better-be-christian intonation). Now that I think about it, living in that small town might of had an impact on my niceness factor, hmm. Don’t get any ideas hubbie-o-mine.

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