Small Talk

"class is in session"

“class is in session”


This is day six of the Writing 101 write a post everyday challenge. Today’s assignment involves character building, the goal is to  write about the most interesting person that I’ve met in 2014. In my twist, develop and shape my portrait further in a character study.

I don’t know what it is about me that signals that I want to be bothered talking with strangers, is it a the look in my face? Do I look so lonely to which I need someone to talk my problems. I try to look mean, like I don’t want to be bothered, maybe that’s the problem, I way try too hard. So here she comes, an older lady, actually we look to be about the same age, carrying two large bags. She looks like she has gone shopping for days or weeks. We look to be the same height, well maybe not, since I have shrunk due to osteoporosis, brittle silvery hair, she looked very tired and worn, not because she obviously been shopping,  but seem like life has taken its toll. She appears to be lonely or maybe frustrated. She also looks as if she too experiences daily chronic pain, I try to avoid eye contact. I don’t want her to catch me “studying” her, but it’s too late, she comes to sit next to me on the bench.

“Nice day, isn’t it, I mean it’s cold, but the sun is shinning bright.”


“I’m getting old, we’re all getting old, I’m in so much pain, as you can see, I’ve been shopping.”

“There’s nothing wrong with that, we got to buy things we need.”

“I buy a lot of things I don’t need.”

“Well it seems that we have two things in common, compulsive shopping and chronic pain”

“Yeah, I do a lot of that too.”   “You say you’re in pain?”  “You have chronic pain too.”

“I have arthritis real bad”

She shows me her hands. Her fingers are badly deformed from arthritis.

“I call my arthritis “Arthur” because it’s painful and men are a pain so I hence the name “Arthur” .”

I laugh.

“I have arthritis in my hands too, but I don’t think mine is as bad as yours.” I don’t show her my hands.

“I hope it doesn’t get as bad.” “I get sick a lot” “This disease makes me feel older, I feel like I’m 80 years old, my mother is 80 years old and feels like she’s 60.”

“I feel as if I’m eighty too.”

She laughs.

“I like to shop.” She continues to talk and going into her bag to show me all that she has brought. “Some of this stuff I don’t need, like these little statues, but you get in trouble at the dollar store.”

“I like the dollar store too.”

She shows me little elephants, frogs and cats statues. “This is the reason I can’t afford a house, I’m nearing 50 and have not owned a house.” “I’m tired paying rent for something I will never own.”

I continued to study her. Just by talking to her she seemed like a person I would not mind having for a friend. We have a few things in common; we both experience chronic pain, I could see that in her eyes the physical pain, the tiredness, we both are compulsive shopping, that was easy to spot judging from the huge shopping bags and compulsive shoppers are usually deep in debt another thing we have in common, except I own my house.

“We have to see the sunshine in everyday” “People complain too much, I try not to complain, I try to see the good in everything, there is always something good, always something positive, that’s what we have to search for…something positive in everyday.”

“I did not always think like this, it took me to get ill with arthritis, losing a couple of friends, divorcing an idiotic husband for me to develop a more positive outlook in life, it’s a struggle though, sometimes I just can’t get out of that bed, sometimes I question God, why couldn’t you take me last night or this morning, then I realize that he has a purpose for me.” “I don’t know what that purpose is yet, but it’s not my place to question his plan, so I continue to live.”

“Yep I had her pegged right, she likes to talk, just like me she is trying to stay positive even though life can be rough.”

We sit in silence for a little while. Watching people as they walk by us. Then she begins to talk again.

“I have a male companion, it’s nothing sexual, he comes over and we have coffee and play scrabble or dominoes.”  “I made sure he understood that all I want is someone to hang out with, talk to, play games, stuff like that.” ” I have to work on me, even at my old age, I need to have time to myself, improve myself.” “I’m working on it, I’m eating healthier, I don’t eat as much fried foods, did I mention I have high blood pressure and diabetes?”

“No, you did not mention that, I have high blood pressure too.”

“I’m tired of being depressed and relationships make me depressed, maybe one day it won’t” “I’ve been exercising too.”

“I don’t exercise, I should, I need to.”

“I don’t do anything strenuous, low impact stuff, get the heart flowing, I’m just in pain because I’m so fat, but if I continue to eat healthy, I’ll lose this fat.”

She goes into her bags again and showed me groceries she brought. She brought plenty of fresh produce, minimal can and processed foods.

“Looks like you at the right start with all the fresh fruits and vegetables.”

“Yep, I’m trying”

She puts the produce back inside her bags.

I stood up from the bench. “Well I’ve rested my legs enough, I’m going to make way to catch my train, it was so nice talking with you.”

“I’m going to stay here for a while, thanks for listening to me, sometimes we need someone to listen to our frustrations.”

I smile. “I guess we do.”



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