The Talker

by Doris Wallace

My husband loved to say that I stop and talk to everyone, whether the bagel man, the hardware store clerk, the workers at Costco. I have my own fish man and butcher at Stew Leonard’s and even got invited to a Stew Leonard’s wedding when we became friends. (The marriage didn’t last.)

And indeed, I speak to strangers all the time. There’s often something to learn. Among the joys of travel is meeting new people, strangers at first, who have much to teach and guide me. Aren’t we more open when we travel? Invariably, when I sit next to someone on a plane I will know their life story way before the flight has landed. I must give off a certain vibe that says “Talk to me. I’ll hear you. I really listen.”

“You should have been a therapist,” my friends tell me. I really enjoy talking with people. I am replete with answers to common questions. I have learned not to always offer my solutions; they are often not wanted. Often I walk with a slight smile on my face; today masks are hiding this interaction.

I’ve probably initiated a conversation with you.

Only one time can I remember that was a downer. An old woman was sitting on the steps of my apartment building. She seemed confused so I stopped to help. It was winter and I brought her into the lobby. When I got to my apartment I noticed my wallet was missing. I rushed downstairs to retrace my steps. I had been pickpocketed. She was gone.  

Doris has been a member of IRP/LP2 since 2004.  She credits David Grogan’s Guided Autobiography study group for inspiring this writing.