However, there is apparently something about my face that invites just about everyone to tell me things, little bits of their lives I have zero interest in. It's all sorts of people, the kind one comes in contact with on a daily basis, be it the clerk at the grocery store, a waiter, the maintenance man fixing my window - they all seem to want to tell me things. I'm not going to speculate as to why they do this, it just seems to happen to me inordinately more than it happens to others.
And sometimes it just gets weird.
Take yesterday for instance. I stopped at a gas station on the way home from work. As the attendant came up to my car - remember, this is Oregon, where we are required by law to have a professional pump our gas (no jokes please, I have heard them all - and I agree) - I noticed there was no one else filling up. Oh boy. Gas stations for me have become one of those places where people like to talk to me. The following is not an exact transcript of what happened, but it's close.
Attendant: "What can I get for you?"
Me: "Fill with regular, thanks."
He swipes my card and starts the fill, handing me back my card.
Attendant: "Maaaannn. I am glad it's not busy today."
Oh no. He sounds like he and I are buddies kicking back over a couple of brews. Dude, I have never seen you before in my life. I know what's coming.
Attendant: "Yesterday, man. Wow. I had to work my usual 7-4 shift."
He looks at me. I nod, politely, with a smile. I'm kind of stuck, since I can't exactly go anywhere.
Attendant: "Then I went home and took a shower."
Attendant: "Had to get to the mall. My wife got a seasonal job there, so I had to meet there you know."
How would I know that? Seriously?
Sera: You can stop talking now.
Attendant: "So she got done at 5:30 and then we had dinner at the food court."
Attendant: "Then she had to go to her other seasonal job there, for training so they can be ready for the day after Thanksgiving." Shakes head. "Already, man. We didn't get out of there until after 11."
I nodded. Note that none of my responses here are in quotes. I didn't say a word because I didn't want to encourage him, yet this story has no end.
Attendant: "Then today my co-worker here had to go to the V.A. hospital for a colonoscopy, and his wife had to work, so guess who got nominated to drive him up there?"
Um, you? Do I win anything? And seriously? There's more?
Attendant: "So I drive him up there to the V.A. and it all goes well..."
Well that's good. I was worried.
Attendant: "...until we were coming down from the fourth floor and my buddy starts puking in the elevator."
Oh lord. Isn't my gas tank full yet?!
Attendant: "I mean, seriously. He hadn't been able to eat since Saturday, couldn't have sugar and caffeine since Friday, and then they give him two cups of applesauce and a muffin. That sugar just made him sick. So I grabbed one of those emergency bags and gave it to him, told him I wasn't cleaning up that mess in my car."
Misaki: Please make it stop!
Oh. My. Lord. Can someone shoot me? Or better yet, him?
Attendant: "But it was all okay, so that's good."
I smiled. I nodded.
Oh thank you lord - I'm not even religious - my gas tank is full! Please, please, print that damn receipt and let me go...
Attendant: "Here you go. Have a nice day."
Me, with strained smile: "You too, thanks."
And I got the hell out of there.
Seriously? These are the stories you tell to random strangers who can't possibly care? I mean, no one does, right? I'm not an aberration here? There isn't one person who pulled up to the gas station that day and was interested in his story, right? I seriously doubt I was the first person lucky enough to hear it, too.
This is one of those social situations that doesn't call for small talk. And if it does, please talk to me about the Blazers, Beavers, Ducks, or the weather - those are acceptable small talk topics. And usually those are the topics, because someone takes a cue from the shirt or hat I'm wearing, and I have forgotten I'm wearing it, and I'm completely confused why they are asking me something.
I guess not everyone has the same social rules, the same social bubble, as I do. Maybe I'm just aware that no one really gives a flying rat's ass about what I did yesterday (of course, except you dear blog readers!).
This actually reminds me of one of our cats, Moochie. He has zero understanding of personal space. Have you ever met a person like that? The ones who stand too close when it's not necessary, and not for a specific reason other than they just do? That's Moochie. He'll get in your face, sniff you, talk to you, even if you would really rather he just talk from a couple feet away, like a normal cat.
Moochie: What are you doing?!
Such is life, though, right? Takes all kinds to make this fleeting few years we enjoy interesting.