My Sign

I don't know why people confide in me. They tell me things I have no business knowing. They tell me details I don't want to know. Someone must have plastered a sign on my back inviting strangers to talk to me about private matters.

Listening is something I do well. I've always preferred to listen rather than talk, but maybe we should be introduced before you start spilling your secrets. Some topics require we know each other's names, at least.

I must have been wearing my sign today. Along with other shoppers, I perused the supplement aisle at a pharmacy. A well-groomed, attractive woman nearby snatched a bottle from a lower shelf and held it up in front of my face.

"Cranberry," she said.

I nodded, not knowing where this was going.

"I had terrible bladder and kidney infections before I started taking this. My daughter said I should just drink cranberry juice. Not me, I hate cranberry juice."

I nodded again. I didn't know this woman, but I now know her history with urinary tract ailments.

Something similar happened to me while at the ophthalmologist's office. A woman seated near me related the details of how her son was fired from his job. He held a professional position and had been accused of wrongdoing. I am now privy to who, what, when, where, and why. I hope I'm not called to testify in court.

This sort of thing happens to me often, and I'm always amazed. Are people so lonely they will seek out a stranger and start a narrative about their personal life? What causes such a lack of filter for subject matter? I suppose it's the fault of the sign I wear. Now if I can just get my husband to tell me what he wants for dinner.


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