Talk Therapy

Life has been busier than normal recently.  My husband was scheduled for a cardiac procedure but after much thought he decided to cancel and/or delay it.  At the same time, a family member from Scotland was coming to visit us in Texas.  I haven’t seen my family in over 3 years and was so excited about his visit.  Every part of the house was cleaned, over and over again.  Anticipation, stress and then fatigue…  In a brief Zen moment, I lingered in the discount corner of our local supermarket.  It had been stocked with wonderful organic potions that caught my interest.  Then, I was aware that another shopper was hovering nearby.

“Gosh, I am so sorry!”, I said. “Please come in and have a browse – I can’t make up my mind which wrinkle cream to choose.”  She was a pretty younger woman in her 40’s, perhaps?  I noticed she was very slim and looked a bit harassed, although smiling.  Inevitably, we started chatting about various bargains we had gotten at our two supermarkets’ discount corners.  We both had found fabulous discontinued products that we later had to hunt for on Amazon and pay full price for the second purchase.  Then she asked me if any wrinkle creams work.  I started laughing, pointing at my face and saying, “Of course they don’t!”

Suddenly, the conversation took a turn.  The lady said, “I have aged so much over the last 2 years since my husband left me.”  My counselling skills automatically clicked on so I just adjusted my gaze and fully focused on her.  “He won’t leave me alone but it was his choice to leave.  I guess he has to see the children.”  I hope I chose the right words and soothed her somewhat but she saddened me.  The Pandemic has been bad enough without a separation or divorce.  It is often easier to talk to an anonymous lady about deeply personal problems.  While I am honored that she picked me but I hope she has someone else to talk to.  Or perhaps a blog?

Our family visitor came for a lovely but brief visit.  We went out to dinner at a local restaurant and I ate gluten, wheat and walnuts.  That gave me gas that was incredibly painful, if laughable.  Note to self; keep to your sensible diet or suffer the consequences.  My cousin is our genealogist and we had great fun looking at old photographs.  We currently have a mystery about our great grand-parents.  We both thought they had lived their whole lives in Ireland at the farm but an Ancestry DNA link is intimating that they moved to Maine (I have a photo of great grandma taken in Rhode Island) and then went back to Ireland.

My cousin had jet lag, woke up at 5 am and I found him reading out on our deck when I got up.  He said there was an odd smell wafting from the deck.  Aghast, I looked beside him and there were glittery decomposition flies – gah!  All that cleaning and my guest is sitting next to a (very small) dead body on our equivalent of a Body Farm.  I blame Baby Cooper Hawk.  Did he drop injured prey on our deck that fled under the deck?  So…I have asked our handyman to come and dismantle the deck.  We are getting too old to deal with our Body Farm so we will have it dry landscaped.

After Cousin left, I lazed around for a couple of days before going to early voting at the library.  When I arrived, there was a small queue outside but the weather was glorious – not humid or warm.  Two very elderly people with sticks were asked if they would like to jump the line but the old man said he had nothing else to do anyway.  Then he told all of us (about a dozen) that his wife had died recently and life was difficult.  We all made reassuring noises (and I felt sad again…)  Another lady about the same age told us she was glad that her husband died before her and her eyes welled up with tears!

So many people need some talk therapy these days or just a cozy chat.  The lady right in front of me then turned around to chat to me about the electoral process.  Did I look knowledgeable?  She asked me how mail-in voting works and is it secure?  I said I had no idea and hoped she didn’t hear my accent behind my mask.  I was the only person wearing a mask.  This brings me to my favorite funny story about voting in the States.

Some years ago, British friend of mine, in Texas, went to vote in our township.  The election worker noted her English accent and asked to see her ‘papers’, despite her voting card and driving license.  This provoked my friend to say, rather sharply, “I have been an American citizen for 30 years and this is the first time anyone has asked to see my papers”.  Quite rightly, she was outraged at the query, especially since the greater Houston area has a wide array of legal immigrants – many first generation with accents.  Unfortunately, for the election worker, there was a lady with a strong Russian accent behind my friend.  Her comment was, “This place like Stalingrad!”  (You have to read it with the accent.) My friend and the Russian/American lady bonded, they voted and we all lived happily ever after in our suburban bubble. 

Keeping smiling at people and chatting.  You never know who might need a shoulder right now.

Update – Manuel deconstructed the deck. It was a decomposing raccoon leg – a perfect Halloween scene and mystery. Who ate the rest?? Not Baby Cooper but perhaps a hungry possum. The circle of life…🦝

28 thoughts on “Talk Therapy

  1. Sounds like the woman was Blanche Dubois “Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”. You should feel great about yourself, that someone you don’t know would lean on you in a time of need.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Everyone needs talk therapy. One. Doesn’t know if someone is carrying TNT inside of themselves. Also these individual maybe contemplating suicide. Your smile or talking to them will relieve the pressure and may turn them around with hope. One never knows.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m demented with people telling me their life story Kerry. I can be heard muttering that I’m doing the Samaritans out of a job!
    Can you get talk therapy fatigue? I’ve listened to people’s problems for such a huge amount of my day that I can’t get any work done. This causes me major stress as I have a gazillion jobs to do.
    So, it can be both a blessing and a curse that people feel comfortable offloading. Today when I’m working from 7:00am until 10:00pm- a curse.
    Perhaps I’m just getting old and narky🤣

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Kerry,
    I love reading your stories. You do have one of those trusting welcoming faces and demeanor, so I can definitely see you attracting people that need a listening ear.
    I am sorry you had to dismantle your deck. Did you get rid of it completely?
    Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a lovely compliment, Ana, thank you!! 💟 We did get rid of the deck completely but have an intact cement patio underneath. Our landscaper is coming around in a couple of weeks to beautify everything. It was just in the nick of time as the Great Horned Owls have arrived and their favorite food is skunk…🦉

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  5. You have interesting things happen on a steady basis Kerry. As to ‘talk therapy’ I’m always happy to listen to others if they want to talk. I’ve gotten better with age at just shutting up and listening, not trying to provide solutions.
    Seems easy enough to vote there – I seem to recall all-day queuing in the US during the Presidential election. Here in Jersey it’s straight in and out, but still fewer than 50% of the population don’t bother.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Every state has a different voting system but ours seems accessible, especially in this township. Just a pity they won’t vote the way I want them to…😉
      I used to try to find solutions but, like you, I try to just listen now. Wisdom really does come with age!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I love this kind of culture where people who are strangers just chat easily to you. Bus stop waiting, train journeys… all so much more interesting and sometimes therapeutic, with the chat. Can be tough – when like your experiences here, the stories are sad and requiring real compassion. I would prefer that though, to those places where people find it a threat if you start a conversation! I enjoyed this post Kerry, thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am so glad you enjoyed this piece, Helene. Sometimes I wonder why we have lived the longest in this community but then I realize it is the people. Most Texans are friendly and warm despite how the media portrays us. There is nothing like a wee craic…

      Liked by 1 person

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