Musings

Everyone Has a Story

This past Saturday, I got out of the house. We are all finally stomach-bug-head-cold-bug-fever free.

Knock on wood. No, make that slam, bash and dance on wood. I’m not taking any chances.

I went to one of my favorite stores to just poke and do some in-store window shopping, if that makes sense. Some would call it retail therapy (a phrase my husband absolutely detests), I call it eye-candy. I wasn’t in the mood to buy, I just wanted to look. Cool things in every direction at this place…plants, book, house stuff, jewelry, food finds…so nice.

So there I was meandering through the she-she cosmetics nook, opening and sniffing all the testers that I could, when I came to a table. On it were several stacks of books and a lovely wooden bowl with glasses. Cheaters, as some would call them. They were marvelous. Icy-blue-clear frames and the arms were wood. Sounds atrocious, but on they looked fabulous. Fun, artsy, like the cheekiest, cutest librarian EVER. There I was peering into the $1500 mirror in front of me (new-made-to-look-old for an insane price) admiring this new persona, when an older woman commented to me about the book that I was also checking out. I hadn’t even noticed her. She was seated in one of the big rattan seats that was for sale, but somehow looked so comfortable that she almost blended in with the displays.

“That’s a good book” she said to me. It was something about cleanse diets and water. And from there, our conversation ended almost 45 minutes later. It began briefly with a few words about this book, then leapt to a small tutorial on the iphone (she had just gotten one and didn’t know how to use it) and then, and this was the bizarre part, it meandered to me hearing about her life, growing up in Italy, leaving home at 17, romancing her way through Europe and ending up in a small town in the United States married to a very wealthy man. She told me about the three books she has written and how she is trying to get one of them made into a screenplay. Huh. Who knew? She talked about priests in Italy, she talked about men and how they should know how to love and romance woman (and many don’t, by her accounts), she spoke of literature (she’s a Professor) and her love of languages, which she teaches on the side, if you are interested in learning one of them.

I thought I was on Candid Camera. Seriously.

I was waiting for someone to pop out from behind the giant rubber tree near us and surprise me with something. Anything. Money? A new car? At least a sample of some of the stuff I had been testing in those cute little jars minutes before.

There was a point during the iPhone tutorial that I contemplated jumping ship….feigning the need for a bathroom NOW, cutting the conversation short, getting on with my Me-Time in the store. This was mildly ridiculous, after all, talking with this stranger in the cosmetics nook of this store.

But then I thought…why not keep talking (or listening, as the case really was)? I wasn’t in a rush, no alarms were going off that she was a psycho, she just seemed…interesting. So I sat. And listened. She had a fabulous Italian accent. We laughed, I was astounded. This 75-ish year old was telling me things as if I was her granddaughter. And ok, so it’s still bizarre, no matter how you slice it.

Everyone has a story. And this gal apparently has a whole barrel full of them. (Many) minutes before, she had virtually blended in with the scenery. I walked away from that conversation amused and reminded that indeed, everyone has stories up their sleeves. And sometimes it’s just good to listen. Sometimes folks need to talk.

Last night, I also saw the movie Silver Lining Playbook with a friend of mine. Same thing, same idea. Everyone has a story. Some stories follow folks around for a time, some stories make people want to run and hide, some stories are like rashes and won’t go away.

And some stories have comical moments and sweet, happy, lovely endings.

But everyone has one. If not two or three. And you never know who has one that is worth listening to.

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