In Which I Converse With A Stranger Whilst Thinking Of One Particular Emoticon

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WHILE WAITING AT HONDA in the customer service area for my car to be repaired, a stylish 60-something woman spotted me reading my book, sat down beside me and started chatting.

That’s what they all do the minute they see me. They start talking.

She told me more than I wanted to know about her: she was retired, single, living on a fixed income, buying her sheets at one department store but her towels at a different one, preferred olive oil from upscale cooking stores rather than the grocery, and watched [nameless] funny TV shows each night.

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COME TO FIND OUT, this woman had brought her car into Honda Service, without an appointment, because the remote transmitter battery in her car’s key was failing.  The battery needed to be replaced.

To me, this seemed simple enough. To her, however, this was a big deal.  

What this woman did not seem to understand was that even when the battery part of her key went dead, she could still insert the key into the car lock and turn the key manually to open the car door.

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NO, SHE THOUGHT THAT when the car key battery went dead she’d have to have the car towed from who knows where and replace the whole lock– which was going to cost hundreds of dollars.

So there I sat a victim of chit-chat overload, dumbfounded by what I’d heard. Somewhat baffled, almost wordless.  

I was about to explain to her how locks work when the service department called her name indicating that they had completed her repair.  So I said “good-bye” and was left to wonder why it is that the clueless people find me– even when I’m minding my own business, they. find. me.   O_o

Published by

Ally Bean

Observant wordsmith. Humorous. Fond of foibles. Curious. Delighted by design. Adaptable. Midwestern by chance.

24 thoughts on “In Which I Converse With A Stranger Whilst Thinking Of One Particular Emoticon”

    1. Zen-Den, you are more clued in than you think that you are. Plus, am happy about your key using abilities. Now if we could just work on your driving the SUV in & out of the garage without hitting the garage, I think that would indicate advanced key using aptitude. Which would be quite cluefull.

            1. Ah-ha! I see what you’re saying now. Bumpers makes sense.

              [And now I suppose that you’re going to tell me that “sory” means “sorry”? You and your pudgy fingers are not meant for typing. ;-)]

  1. I think you are wearing a “kind hearted woman” sign without knowing it. Overall, I think that’s a good thing. And you get to meet interesting people.

    I remember reading a similar story presented as a joke. And I confess, when my car battery was dead this spring and the key fob couldn’t work – I had a brief moment of wondering how I was going to get into the car. It was brief, really!

    1. Zazzy, I do meet interesting people, I’ll give you that! Although some days I could do without the kind hearted woman sign hanging over my head.

      Got to laugh at your admission of key confusion. You figured it out on your own. Not so sure this talkative woman will ever understand it.

  2. You just have a smiling, happy persona. People are drawn to that. They feel comfortable with you. I know I do! I’ll tell you everything:)
    This always happens to me on a plane. I’ll try to read a book and my seat mate insists on chatting the whole trip. It wears me out!

    1. Beth, I know what you mean about being wornout. i was exhausted after sitting by this woman. She even glanced at my book once, said sorry to bother you– and then went right on talking to me! Oy vey!

  3. She sounds lonely. Retired. Single. Probably no one to talk to for most of the day / days. Anyone who wants to tell you about their sheets and towels can’t have much of a life. You probably alleviated her loneliness and lightened her day just that little bit. Not that all retired / single people are lonely. Maybe she was on amphetamines. Or a wee bit manic. :-) Some people from all walks are just self obsessed. Maybe she is one of those. Like the chap who cut my hair these last two or three times. When his speech is aimed at me, he’s actually looking at himself in the mirror and checking himself out. Quite amusing to observe. As long as he looks at my hair while cutting it, I don’t really mind. :-P I love making up stories about people. If you are on Instagram, have a look at wenevermet (we never met). Made up stories about Londoners. Whatever your lady’s situation is, I find I’m worn out by those conversations too.

    1. Polly, I imagine that you’re right. She was lonely and there I was.

      The interesting thing to me is that she was dressed perfectly for the situation: capris, t-shirt, floral sandals with matching handbag, tasteful jewelry, an Anna Wintour approved bob, eyeglasses with new frames. Obviously she knew how to put clothes together, but was lacking when it came to how to put key & lock together!

      Will go visit your suggested site now. Sounds fascinating.

  4. Yes, that is a bit weird I agree. Maybe she’s like really clever people who have absolutely no common sense whatsoever. Let me know what you think of the site. I can’t get on it as not on Instagram but I saw a collection of the photos in London’s Time Out magazine, and it looked fascinating. May even get on Instagram just to see more.

  5. Or maybe you have “sucker” tattooed on your forehead. Dogs (the kind that like to hump your leg), babies (the crying ones) and old married men (the icky ones) were always attracted to me.
    This helps us all understand how older folks can be suckered into big repair jobs. Good thing she took it to the maintenance department of a dealer. (Can you imagine the story that repairman took home with him to entertain his wife? I wonder if he has a blog?)

    1. kate, I hadn’t thought about how she could have been suckered into a larger repair. She was a nice enough person, but seemed to be lacking in the “how things work” department. You’re right, the dealership was the best place for her and her car probs.

      I don’t know if the repair guy got a blog post out of it, but I sure did!

  6. I also have a friendly face which is a curse on planes and sometimes at the store when I’m in a hurry. However, I would much rather be THAT person than one who can’t be bothered with other people. It is annoying sometimes though. :) On other occasions it’s heartwarming, like this morning getting my Sbux when a strange man started unloading about his daughter and her heavily tattooed b/f who were both pain killer addicts and how his wife and he are trying to rear the grandchildren. I was happy to listen and have it NOT BE ME.

    1. Margaret, you’ve hit the nail on the head with NOT BE ME. I don’t mind listening, I guess. It is just that sometimes, like this time, I feel like I am dropped into bizarro world without a parachute to save me. As if there’s not enough weirdness in my own life…

    1. Andra, I’ve always had strangers just start conversations with me. It’s the darnedest thing. This woman was memorable more for what she didn’t understand than for all the [unsolicited] shopping advice she gave me.

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