notquiteold

Nancy Roman

Oversharing

Today at the drugstore, the kid at the cash register was one of those Oversharers.

You know the type. Most often, it is an older person. Maybe lives alone. Maybe lonely. The old lady at the supermarket who starts by asking you about the pickles you are buying, and ends up telling you about her grandchildren, her arthritis, and how her Uncle Harold used to make, not only pickles, but pickled beets and pickled beans and a bit of moonshine on the side. And Uncle Harold was married to Aunt Helen, but he also had a girlfriend on the side. And they are all passed away now. But how she wishes she had the recipe. For the beets, not the hooch.

But the kid in the drugstore was a young boy, not more than twenty. He was cute, with dark curly hair and red lips.

I walked toward the register with my one pricey birthday card, the kind that doesn’t even say what you want it to say, but if you made one yourself that said what you wanted it to say, you’d look like a cheapskate, so there goes $8.99. (And of course, you know you will screw up the envelope.)

I was still fifteen feet from the register when the boy sprang up from the sunscreen aisle.

“All set to check out?” he asked.

“Well,” I said, “I still need a snack.” I have yet to exit a drugstore without a snack.

“Pick a good one!” he said. And I did. Snacks don’t get much better than potato chips. The kid approved. “I like those too. They’re the best.”

At the register, he told me he had just started his shift.

“I didn’t get a ride today. First time I had to walk all the way here. It’s a pretty long walk. And it would be such a hot day.”

Yes, his brown ringlets and forward looked a little damp.

“It’s nice, though,” I said. “It began to seem like we would need our parkas until the Fourth of July.”

He agreed. “Yeah, no kidding.” I’m not sure any place other than Connecticut says ‘no kidding’ as much as we do. But we say it a lot.

He rang me up. I didn’t have my discount card.

“Sorry,” he said. I understand that Canadians say this even more than New Englanders, but we apologize all the time here too.

“I got my tax refund today,” he said, apropos of nothing. “I’m going to buy myself something nice, and then I’ll bank the rest.”

Oh, I thought, the connection might be my snack. A treat. Maybe it made him think about treating himself.

“Good for you,” I said.

“Enjoy the rest of the day for me,” he said.

Well, that was a sweet way to say, ‘Have a nice day.’

A few years ago, this conversation would have made me uncomfortable. Why is he telling me about his tax refund? Why did he need to tell me about his walk?

But now, after this pandemic year, I think about these conversations differently.

Certainly, he was an Oversharer.

But the Pandemic has reminded me that you don’t have to be an elderly widow to be lonely. And you don’t even need a Pandemic to be lonely.

Too many people have no one to talk to. It is such a little thing to discuss your day. Not only do people have to keep their worries to themselves. They can’t even share their small happinesses.

I am an oversharer too. But I have a blog. I have a Twitter account. I can tell everyone important things, like how hard it is to see my mom in a nursing home. And I can share stupid, unimportant things, like how little girls wore big hair ribbons in 1910.

I have platforms that allow me to share. That makes me a fortunate oversharer.

This kid got his refund check. He’s going to buy something just for himself. He just wanted to share that little joy with someone.

He picked me.

That’s really nice.

It’s a compliment. He thinks I look like a kind woman. Someone he can talk to. A grandma that he can share good news with.

“Make sure you buy yourself something special,” I said.

My great-aunt Lillian’s class photo. She’s the little one seated on the left. Hair ribbons in 1910 were huge. I don’t know how little girls held their heads up. Thanks for letting me overshare.

27 Comments

  1. He sounds like a nice kid.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was so shy growing up I never spoke to anyone. Now that I’m past that I’m pretty sure I’m an oversharer too.

    Like

  3. AA Gabi Coatsworth

    I think you probably have the kind of face that people trust and will talk to… That’s a good thing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. AA Gabi Coatsworth

    I think you probably have the kind of face that people trust and will talk to… That’s a good thing 🙂

    Like

  5. Some people are born over sharers like my Mum was, she could talk a person’s ear off

    Like

  6. The pandemic has certainly made chatterboxes of us all. I prided myself of being a deep silent one, but lately, I notice myself reluctant to let go of anyone I run into during my walk, even if I run out of topics to talk about. I notice the same about others too.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Roseanne

    I wouldn’t even consider that over sharing in anyway!! But I’m here in Ireland where we would just view that as friendly chat and the next time I’d be in that shop I’d ask him how he is getting on and what did he get himself as a treat!! Or at least be very open to whatever chat started the next day! Is that not how communities and relationships are built? By this standard of oversharer Im definitely an oversharer, but I wouldn’t consider myself an oversharer at all. I can certainly have the chat (and that involves listening too), and i love when I find out some little nugget of interest from people, or if they tell you a little more about themselves you can have a moment of empathy and sharing with that person without it turning into a huge deal, just a human interaction with a little more depth then normal.

    Thanks for your blogs, I do enjoy reading them!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ray G

      How I wish I could visit Ireland and your friendly people!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I find people (around here, out in the country, anyway) are talking to “strangers” now more than ever. People strike up conversations in the (physically distanced) grocery store lines, at the pharmacy counter, even in the parking lot as we “avoid” one another as we get in and out of our cars. I think a lot of us are desperate for in-person conversation (I know I am!)

    Like

  9. What a lovely refreshing read. I love stories of human connection, especially when unexpected.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. What a nice interaction. 🙂 I hope he picks out a wonderful treat.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Doris Kennedy

    There is much loneliness in the world. I volunteer for Meals on Wheels. Mostly old folks, lonely folks, folks that I am the only person they see all week. It may make the delivery time a bit longer but it is so worth giving them the time to actually talk to someone other than themselves. So gratifying. Think about being a MOW’s driver, you too can make a difference in those so in need of a bit of companionship and compassion. And Nancy…you would get a whole lot of material for your wonderful blogs. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Roxanne Brennan

      Doris, I also do Meals on Wheels, and also see lonely, sometimes frail elders. So many times I would like to stay longer and be with them for an afternoon, talk and learn about their lives. But of course, I have to move on and make more deliveries. I also find it very gratifying.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Doug

    I look forward to reading your stories…. They are so relatable.

    Like

  13. Roxanne Brennan

    Nancy, I find that one of the best opportunities to show kindness and share our humanity is in the stores I visit. At minimum, a smile and eye contact is sometimes all that is needed in the moment.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Sounds like a nice cashier! I’ll take a oversharer over an sullen crabby cashier any day!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I am both an oversharer and one who likes it when people share with me at the checkout (as long as it’s not too personal). You did brighten that boy’s day, as he did yours. You are so right about greeting cards. As an artist I like making stuff like that, and I make hand-made postcards for postcard swaps with other artists. But a greeting card? Even for my husband, who *knows* I’m an artist, I shell out the bucks for a fancy Hallmark.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. sdereski

    I agree with Roseanne. I wouldn’t consider this oversharing at all. I would consider this being a friendly chat. Sounds like a real nice kid. Certainly one I would want to have wait on me.

    Like

  17. Adorable family photo!

    Like

  18. That’s a good way to look at it, and I agree, sharing our little joys and sorrows is a basic human need. I’m glad you listened to him and gave him that chance! The pandemic has made things even worse for human connections, but there have always been people who don’t have anyone to tell their stuff to, which is sad. Personally, I don’t mind listening when someone clearly needs to talk unless they start in with really personal and inappropriate stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I tend to chat in line and some people overshare, but I don;t mind as most are elderly and on their own. I make my own cards, but no verses, though sometimes I’ll write a special poem for Christmas and put that in. I enjoy making them, as I got fed up with naff cards and nice verses or lovely cards with a naff verse.

    Like

  20. staytrue336

    Cool 😎

    Like

  21. You reminded me of something I once heard…”a burden shared is a burden halved”…I don’t know who said it and I don’t know who shared it with me. It’s true though. There seems to be a lot of oversharing going on over the past year+. I envy people that can do that and I also appreciate it when I am privy to their share. It seems that as time goes on I have become the oppisite. I don’t know when or why but I have been having a lot of trouble sharing. I fear for when the dam breaks, people will have to take cover.

    Like

  22. I loved this~ there is an abundance of loneliness as we come out of the pandemic. Your kindness through this post 🙂 MJ

    Liked by 2 people

  23. sdprairie

    My three children (all in their 20s), especially my two sons, would say I am an oversharer. I can find strangers to converse with anywhere we travel. My son’s are often embarrassed. They are more introverted. I refuse to let them stop me from meeting new people when we travel. Why would I just want to travel without meeting new people?

    Like

  24. bevlaudiewrites

    Before the pandemic, I didn’t appreciate these types of interactions. Now I enjoy the interaction.

    Like

  25. Enjoyable read!

    Like

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