My wife is a talker.
She loves people. She greets everyone she meets with a friendly smile and a hearty hello. Yes, she’s one of those people. She gets pumped up by mingling and helping others.
I love people too. Well, let me restate that, I love the thought of people, but I prefer to recharge by myself in thought, away from anything that might get in my way. I get pumped up by silence.
Here’s what I mean: The phone rings, I let it go straight through to voice mail. The phone rings on my wife’s phone and she picks it up on the first ring. “Hello, how are you?”
We see friends in the store. I give a one-armed man hug and say, “hey we need to get together soon.” My wife: She pulls out her phone and starts looking for days in her calendar when we can get together. She says loud enough for everyone in the store to hear: “If we leave this up to Brian, we’ll never get together. Let’s schedule this now.”
The writing on the wall
I should have known that I was in trouble a few weeks into meeting her. I visited her in Washington, D.C. and she was sad that she didn’t have any food to offer me, so we decided to go to the store together. On the walk, she’s waves first to a woman buckling her baby into her car seat and then to a guy dressed in a three-piece suit. I figure she must know them and ask who they are. She goes, “Ohh, I don’t know, they just looked like they could use a smile.”
Okay, this is different.
Finally, we get to the grocery store and she stops to greet and chat with the kid collecting carts in the street, the baker in the deli, and the manager stocking cans of soup. She literally says hello to everyone we meet in the store. And I mean everyone.
A five-minute trip takes an hour. I think we’re finally leaving and she starts talking to the cashier. In a few short minutes, we learn that his name tag says Harold, but he prefers to go by Skip. He works weekends as a wedding DJ; he’s got a pet salamander, named Rufus; and he came to Washington because he wants to work in public policy.
We learned all that in one five-minute conversation, I kid you not.
I remember walking back to her apartment in total shock. If I had gone myself, I’m not even sure I would have noticed any of the people. I would’ve had my head down, focused completely on the mission at hand.
In any event, I figured it was one and done, but boy was I in for a surprise. That’s a pretty typical day for my wife. She’s always been like that and it hasn’t changed.
It gets better. Take this example:
Several years ago, we take a trip to the Shenandoah Mountains in Southwest Virginia. We love to hike and get out in the woods. The trip will be a getaway, right? No people, no nothing, just lots of clear, blue skies, fresh mountain air, and bright green evergreens.
Of course, we pull into the ranger station to purchase our pass and our plan to getaway takes a sideways turn. You would have thought that we had just purchased our tickets to Comic Con, the big entertainment and comic book convention, or a live concert, anything that brings thousands of people together into one location.
We pulled in and instantly you had the two chattiest people on the face of the Earth. I’m looking to just pay my ticket and be on my way. My wife though is chatting with the Shenandoah Forest Ranger about the weather, his degree in Forestry Management, bear sightings, the best places to go in the park, the Phillies game the night before, and the crazy tourists who try to get close to the bears.
You name it, they talked about it.
My kids are getting antsy. I’m getting antsy, but the conversations keeps going. Finally, another car pulls up behind us. I’m thinking that it means we can now get going. Could I be anymore wrong? The park ranger waves them on in and continues his conversation with my wife. When I tell this story, she inevitably likes to remind me that thanks to that conversation the ranger told us about a little known benefit to stopping at the Park Store: the Blackberry Ice Cream Shakes.
I’ll hand her that one. The park ranger was right, of course. The shakes were good, maybe even one of the best I’ve ever had, but I still could have done without the lengthy discussion.
Takes all kinds
You’ll notice right away that my wife loves people. I like people too, but I’m no match for her. Oh, she’s crazy, but I love her anyway. I especially love that I got her in my corner so that she can get into all the crazy conversations she wants, freeing me up to come and go as I please.
Yea, she’s crazy. I mean really crazy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.