Yesterday, I was in the doctor’s office and as soon as I got a seat, I pulled out my phone and began checking my emails. Being a rather busy author, there’s always work I can do and so I began flipping through the new messages.
Suddenly, I realized there was an older woman (older than me so let’s say Methuselah) sitting next to me, and I could sense she was stressed and tense.
A wave of shame overcame me, and I knew that a few years earlier, I would have begun a conversation with her, made sure to leave her with a smile and a kind word. But with the new way of the world, I’d shut myself off from that type of interaction… to my own detriment.
I quickly slipped my cell into my purse, turned, and grinned. I spoke as if we had been friends for years. “Darn things are a menace… right?”
She looked a bit shocked, then a bit shy, but answered, “Guess it’s the way of the world now.”
“Not a good way, “I admitted, shamefaced.
“No. It’s kinda lonely for those who don’t have one. Used to be able to chat with others when I came here.”
“I know what you mean.” I pointed out the window. “We have a lot to talk about today… look at that sunshine?”
Her face lit up, her smile crooked. “Isn’t that nice? I think spring might be right around the corner.”
We chatted for the next ten minutes about gardens, kids, summer and not once did we run out of things to say. If the conversation stopped, I’d initiate another topic. Finally, her name was called, and she hustled not to keep the nurse waiting. But she smiled my way and that was enough. I knew she’d appreciated having someone to talk to.
I let my very active imagination loose and pictured her as a widow, living alone and seldom seeing others. It made me very glad that I had taken the time to be courteous. But suddenly I knew… I wasn’t being courteous.
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