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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Open Letter: Chatty Cathy

Most days I might be open to hearing the stories of a stranger, but today was just not one of them. Nonetheless, out of respect for this little 89 year old woman, I stood as patiently as I could while she rambled on about a recent accident with a shopping cart in the supermarket, her children, her children’s children, her former family business and her late husband. As she chatted away I was almost wishing my LO would throw a tantrum or cry, anything to have her let me be, but of course she did not. She was entranced with this woman and wouldn’t stop smiling as she spoke to us.

I am sick. Not only am I sick, DH is out of town for the week so I am on my own. My sinuses feel like they are about to explode, my ears are so stuffed I feel like I am going deaf, my body feels like it has been hit by a bus and to top it all off I am running a slight fever. My throat is hoarse as I can only breathe out of my mouth and my lips are chapped and dry as well. Oh, and did I mention the wonderful AF finally arrived and she has been here for over a week!?!

The weather outside is crap; it’s pissing rain and muggy as hell. It took every last bit of energy I had to get the baby bundled up into her car seat and get out of the house to pick up some OTC medications hoping and praying that they do something to relieve my symptoms. I didn’t even throw a pair of jeans on! Before today you would have never caught me dead in a pair of joggers outside of the house so, clearly, I must be dying! Next step? Going out in my pyjamas!

I stood in the row of cough and cold medicines trying to make a choice between 2 name brands, but 4 different boxes all containing the same ingredients anyway (why do they insist on doing this?) before finally deciding on the house brand. Sweat or rain drops rolling down my forehead, probably a bit of both. Aches and pains from head to toe. Sinuses pounding away in my head like a jackhammer. Additionally surrounded by construction as they have decided to renovate the place as well, adding dust allergens to the messy sinus mix.

That is when Chatty Cathy excused herself as she tried to pass by me with her cart and spotted the LO. All week long, everywhere I go, people have been stopping me to get a better look at her and to ask me the same questions over and over again. It’s a little frustrating when you are in a rush, but I have always obliged. This woman was no different, and yet a part of me felt sorry for her.

You see, at that very moment, I was the only person in her world and those 10 minutes or so seemed to mean everything to her. Her cart was blocking the aisle but as people tried to pass us as they could see how deep in conversation she was so they went around another way. I don’t even think she noticed me mouthing apologies to them as she continued her stories. While she spoke of her life and her family, I could hear her loneliness. While she relayed the story of being hit with a shopping cart by a young boy, I could feel the gratitude she felt towards those who would take a minute to listen to her ailments. And while she spoke of her late husband and their old family business, her eyes lit up at his memory and this brought a smile to her face. All the while, my LO looked up at her seemingly listening to her every word. They were both taken with one another.

So, Chatty Cathy, today was really not the best day for me… but I could see that you needed those few moments of my time despite how I felt. For whatever reason, crossing paths with a total stranger in the pharmacy was destined I suppose. I know we are supposed to teach our children not to speak to strangers, but sometimes you have to make exceptions.

Now, here’s hoping these OTC medications work!

PS. No, Chatty Cathy, we are not trying for another one and hoping it’s a boy this time… but thanks for asking!