Joanne, Are You Out There?

I like people. I always say I’m a “people person” which is one reason I loved waiting tables in college. I liked talking to people and filling their belly’s with food.

Until I don’t. Then I want to be left alone and don’t want to be social or polite.

This social aversion happened last night walking my dog. Yes, this IS the neighborhood where lots of people know me as, “That woman who walks her dog wearing a tiara,” but that embarrassment doesn’t usually stop me from being chatty. Lord, if I had to shy away from people for every embarrassing moment, I’d never leave the house.

But last night I just wanted to walk the dog, have him poop quickly, and get home to my new book. But just as I was entering the adjacent neighborhood, I saw our next door neighbors. I don’t know them well, and I feel bad about not making more of an effort to get to know them, but this wasn’t the night I wanted to change that.

I panicked. They hadn’t seen me yet, so I turned to hightail it home when the husband looked up. He saw me. He waved and then the wife turned and she waved too.

Ummm, crap. I really, really didn’t want to talk so I did what any other rational, grown up person would do . . . I pretended to be talking on my phone.

Except I had no phone.

Yes, I held an imaginary phone up to my ear, chatted away about how it really sucked that Joanne was getting a divorce, but that’s what happens when people grow apart (I don’t know a Joanne and well, I was thinking in a panic. Stop judging me). I pulled my hair over my shoulder and kind of titled my head so it wasn’t totally obvious I had no phone. Pretty sure they bought it, especially when I cocked my head all the way to my shoulder like I was holding the phone up with my shoulder, and used my right hand (the one that was previously holding the invisible phone) to mime that Joanne was super chatty. I smiled, they smiled and we carried on our walks.

I soon realized they had changed direction and were behind me. Crap! Now I couldn’t stop talking because they might see I really didn’t have a phone, so yes, I continued to talk about Joanne, her divorce, her kids who were super bratty but just trying to adjust, and also my desire to get a pedicure ALL THE WAY HOME.

It was work, I was exhausted by the time I got home, and I’m pretty sure it would have been less stressful to just say hello and chat for a few minutes. But why do easy when you can use your powers to invent an invisible phone and a whole new friend? I kind of liked Joanne and I think we’d really hit it off, we’re very much alike.

Joanne, are you out there? Call me.


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