Sometimes I think some of the best conversations I have are with total strangers waiting in line for a coffee or something. Sentimental as I am, I always notice some small piece of wisdom that I gain from a 3-minute conversation with someone I’ve never met.
Earlier today, I was sitting in the waiting area of the pharmacy when I spotted a neighbor of mine. I talked to him briefly and thanked him for the toys he brought over for my new cat (Marley the cat loves the catnip mice!). As he went to leave he said “see you later”, and suddenly I hear an elderly woman sitting next to me pipe up and say “that’s what men always say…but where are they at midnight when you really need them!”. I bust out laughing, of course. She says to me, “just seeing if you’re paying attention”.
I acknowledge her and say hello and she begins cracking jokes like a stand-up comedian. I could never do justice to all the funny things she said; you’d just have to be there. But she made reference to everything from her being a “cheap Polack” who only buys on discount to her desires of having multiple love affairs involving wild sex until she’s 100. She was quick as a whip.
Not only did this woman make me laugh out loud, she also talked about what it’s like being 85 and how she’s on so many meds just to keep her alive, and how the only places she goes is the grocery store and the doctor. ”You wait until you’re my age, honey, you get heart problems, back problems, bone problems, you name it!, you’re going to be me someday”.
Underneath her humor was a woman coming to terms with aging, and I’m sure its hard. I enjoyed our conversation and as I went to leave she says to me, “You’re more than a pretty face. Have a nice life, sweetheart”. It was odd she said this to me, because I didn’t really talk at all, other than the occasional “sure”. I just listened to her. What made her say that to me, I don’t know. If I were religious, I’d think an angel was trying to tell me something. Maybe it was her way of thanking me for listening to her, as I’m sure she may be a lonely woman who appreciated someone to talk to.
I left feeling happy. For one thing, when old ladies talk fresh it just cracks me up. But besides that, I appreciate the genuine openness of a stranger and the wisdom they share. She reminded me that life is precious, and we must not waste time. Like her, we must learn to look at the fun things in life and the bright side of everything. Times may get tough, and we may get old and have problems. But there is always a silver lining, we just need to look for it.