Friday, April 9, 2010

Compassion Face

I am a friendly-faced person. It's taken me years of study and thought and confusion to determine that it's my face that must inspire random over-sharing by TOTAL STRANGERS. Seriously. It's happened my ENTIRE life.

Divorcing your cheating husband? You'll tell me about it while we get our oil changed at Jiffy Lube.

Discovered that your teenager has herpes? You'll whisper this to me quietly while we're standing in line at the bank.

Trust me. I have some sort of invisible force field around me that literally COMPELS people to talk to me like they've known me forever. I think it's too late in life to join the priesthood, and since I'm female and not-Catholic (except in the sense of omnipresent self-guilt) this would be difficult.

When I was a charming little honor student working my nights away at a local grocery store as a cashier, I asked a lady how she was doing one night. She looked at me for a minute, was compelled by my kind-face and invisible force field of compassion, and she said:

"Oh honey, I'm having the worst day ever! My husband's best friend just committed suicide today and I found him and my husband doesn't know yet and I'm the one who has to break it to him!"

I'm sure there was more, but that's really all I remember. She probably lost her job and accidentally ran over her dog before rear-ending a cop on the way to the store or something, but I just kept scanning her produce and told her how sorry I was to hear that.

THIS happens to me ALL the TIME. I mean NOT the suicide-best-friend woman but you know, the personal sharing.

And because I'm a huge emotional SPONGE of a woman, I'll take it in and get all worked up and end up bursting like some leaky dam and really, really it's NOT MY sadness but I hate when ANYone is sad.....Not that I think we are all going to be happy all the time but I am a People Pleaser by nature and maybe THAT is what they're sensing.

When they tell me about their lives and bank accounts and spouses. I don't know. I try to help but I am not a preist! I mean, I'm not sure a priest would help but dude, they can be all "say 10 hail mary's!" and break off some holy water and I just stand there looking a bit deer-in-the-headlights.

Curse you Compassion Face!

I guess I'm just doomed to hear about your gastric bypass, your domineering wife, your fibromyalgia, your tanking investments, your drunken cousin and/or your insurance claim or disability status.

Take some compassion, it's free with every revelation!

*Note by The Author (that'd be me): I had written this and already had it in the BAG yo, when it happened. Again. Today! I was at the park, minding my own, when suddenly a loquacious older gent commented on how nice it was that Cassanova had hugged this guy's grandson instead of punching him. (With Cassanova, you never know what you're going to get, although by nature he's a lover not a fighter.) This led to the man chatting with me about the following:

today's youth
being an Army vet
his entire family being army vets
his entire family being in the army because they are all contrary and stubborn
how if you get reduced-in-force, it's always "the good ones" they lose
and that kids should be at the park instead of in school.

See? SEE?!?! Damn you compassion face!

Okay, SECOND note by The Author:
This happened TODAY at the grocery so I had to hurry home and write it down before I forgot or mixed it up or forgot. You get it.

While at the grocery, waiting in a line that probably would have circumvented the sun about 10 times, I was in front of a nice Vietnam Veteran. How did I know? He had a hat that said "Vietnam Veteran." And I'm highly literate, so there you go. And he told me:

About his 48 year old son getting married to a 37 year old woman
They live in Fresno
They are struggling despite good jobs
He's taking a train to the wedding
He's never been on a train
He used to be blonde
He's 70
His father never got gray hair
But he's getting gray hair

THEN after he went off the express line that opened, I got a couple behind me. THEY told me:

He was a deacon at a local church
He'd been a paratrooper in the Army
Their youngest grandson is 28
He's flies helicopters
The man got to "pin his wings on"

SEEEEEEE???? I told you!!! It happens. all. the. time.

Comments, questions, got anything to share?