A post by @idegirl about the importance of each person’s story inspired this ramble.
i'm a person who talks to strangers, in checkout lines and movie queues, everywhere---whether i was living in NYC or little villages like the one i've retired to now. I’ve learned things and shared stories and even made friends because I took a moment to say ‘Are you ok?’, ‘Do you need help?’ or to comment on something they said. This may seem odd behavior for someone who needs solitude on a daily basis---but my solitude isn’t about how I feel about other people it is about nurturing myself, discovering and becoming myself. Having some interactions with others can help us figure out who we are, what we value. But I need to ruminate on what I experience.
There's no home mail delivery and no trash pick-up here. We have to take our trash, which many of us work at keeping to minimum thru composting/recycling/repurposing, to the town landfill--where there are also bins for metal, plastic, paper and cardboard to be recycled, or you can save your metal for the pennies per pound place that buys it, including in form of old appliances. The landfill is open Wednesdays and Saturdays--- many live out on edges of town like me. So, on "Dump days", we combine errands---usually, especially in summer, first stop is the landfill, than we drive down off the hill and stop at the post office to pick up our mail and often head to the one grocery store available. There is a Family Dollar Store that carries some groceries but you figure out quick which items are better deals where. On those days we often run into the same people at all our stops. You nod and smile at the second, by the time you're passing each other at Mickey's, which has a 'welcome' sign in English, Spanish and Navajo, you feel like neighbors. Even more so when you hear your first name called then realize the speaker meant someone else. There are at least 3 other Esthers here, besides my daughter and myself.
Two of the other three Esthers are seniors like myself, I know more about one of them because she wrote a series of articles about this town, collected in book form which I bought and it has a bio of her. Then too you learn, if you’re observant about people by how they write/talk about others. One of my neighbors is young second cousin of hers, the house she was born in actually sits crumbling on his land. Some people might find it odd, but I’ve probably spent more time discussing a wider variety of things (from practicalities of country life to art) with this 20 something than any 2 or 3 older people in town. But my friends have always been a diverse group in every way you can think of to describe people.
Sometimes I feel like I’m a collector of stories, my family’s, my friends, random strangers and of course my own. There’s an African probverb: When an old person dies, it is like a library burned down.