Idle Conversation

Man, was it ever windy yesterday. 

You can tell I have nothing to write about when I start off with the weather…

Yup.  Winter’s on it’s way.  Thaz for shore.

When I used to work as a cashier at a gas station, I heard them all.  Every single way that one could talk about the weather.  My favourite was…

Did you order this weather?

And I’d laugh like it was the most clever thing I’d heard:

Ohhh, ha ha ha.  No sir, I shore didn’t.

If you shop at all, you’ve likely had a few weather conversations yourself.  It’s almost akin to those one liners in a bar.  When you’re standing there at the till you just feel the need to talk about…something….anything. 

Cashier:  How are you today?
Me:  Great!
Cashier:  Good.  Welllll.  I guess winter is finally here to stay.
Me:  Yup, I guess so.
Cashier:  No more getting out of it.
Me:  Nope.
Cashier: Gotta pull them boots outta the cupboard.
Me:  He he he, yeahhh.

And so it goes at every store you visit that day. 

Unless you decide to switch it up…

Cashier:  Hello, mam.  How are you today?
Me:  Well, my bunion’s hurtin’.
Cashier:  Oh.
Me:  And I’ve got some kind of puss coming out of my ears and I don’t know what to do about it.
Cashier:  Uh huh.

Actually, I’ve never done that.  Just not brave enough.  I’m really nice to the cashiers because…well, I’ve been there.  I also try to switch up the whole:  “How are you? Fine, thanks.”  exchange.  As a cashier, I worked with a girl once who responded to the question, “How was your Christmas?” with “Actually, it sucked” and the customer just robotic-ally said, “Good!”

If you’re going to ask someone how they are, at least have the decency to listen to the answer.

The other day I was at Wall-Mart.  I asked the cashier how she was and she answered, “not very good”. 

“Oh no.  Bad day?” 
“Well, my husband’s in hospital and he likely won’t make it through the day.”

“What are ya doin’ at work?!?”
“Well, he’s ninety and we’ve talked about it.  The kids are with him.  He’s ready to go.  I just hope he can hang on until I get there.”

Meanwhile my groceries are packed and she’s serving the next customer.  And I’m standing there not sure how to get out of this conversation.  I can’t very well just say, “Okay, well have a nice day!!”  So, I stuck it out awhile longer, until it seemed she’d said her fill.  Finally I just said, “I’m sorry that’s going on.  I hope all the best for you”.

Totally lame, I know.  But I didn’t know what to say! 

It was okay, though.  She obviously needed to talk to someone about it which is why I stick by my earlier statement.  Don’t ask someone how they’re doing unless you want to hear the answer.  If you don’t have the time, don’t ask. 

Talk about the weather instead.


About Debbie

I am a stay at home mom of 2 energetic children. I homeschool them as well. I have a great husband who, after 7 years of working away from, finally has a job where he is home every night. We are trying to learn how to live together again along with adjusting to the lower pay that came along with the job change.
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13 Responses to Idle Conversation

  1. Janet T. says:

    I have been tempted to say very shocking things to people too. I always force myself to bite my tongue, though, because I don’t want people to think I ACTUALLY have “puss coming out of my ears”. Ugh, by the way. 🙂

  2. Joy T. says:

    I remember one time we were having a garage sale. Gregg is the type of guy who talks to a fence post, so every single person who would come and look around he would say “Hi, how are you today?” or “Hi, how’s it going for you today?” One guy came up the driveway smiling and happy and Gregg asked “Hi, how’s it going for you today.” The guy says “It’s going fantastic. I’m having a really great day today.” To which Gregg says “Wow, that’s great. Not too many people can say they’re having a fantastic day.” The guy says “Ya. But don’t worry. I’m sure ‘someone’ will come along and fuck it up for me.” I tell you. I just about pee’d my pants right there, I was laughing so hard. The way he said it was so matter-of-fact and so the way the world works. God forbid someone see’s someone else happy. Gregg tells that story all the time because he’s known for starting up conversations with anybody and that time it left him kind of speechless.

  3. philosophyoflife says:

    Careful Debbie, you sound just like the women in England – talking about the weather 😯

    The women in Scotland don’t though 😉

  4. robinellablog says:

    I loved your post. I’m a talker and have to ask how you are. I feel genuinely interested and sometimes I can see the shock on the other person’s face when they answer and I am actually looking them in the eyes and paying attention. But sometimes you get more than you bargained for, like that lady in your story and you are right, it’s like, uhhh…I’m horrible with sad news. I likely to start crying on the spot.

  5. Carla says:

    Wow…that was quite a conversation. Like you said, obviously she needed someone to talk to.

  6. Dawn says:

    Great post. That was quite the wind. No downed trees over here that we can see, but at the girls employer’s place, they have a young spruce across the driveway. Anywhooo…I agree about being sincere. I was in a grocery store once and the cashier asked how I was. I said “Actually, I am pretty sick”. There was no response, and a few seconds later, she asked again how I was doing. I raised my voice a little thinking maybe she hadn’t heard, and said “well, actually, I am pretty sick”. NO response. A few seconds later she had done my groceries, and said “Have a nice day”. It was really annoying. It was good of you to listen, and I don’t think what you said was lame, what else could you say to something like that?

  7. bbZuSh says:

    Great post… I guess in those situations, you don’t really know what to say :-/

  8. giveitatry says:

    That was good one and oh so true. If you don’t have the time, don’t ask.

  9. Melanie says:

    I’ve come to know a lot of “oh I’m fine” sort of women. It translates as “I don’t know if you’re really asking so I’m not really telling”. A few you know are not fine but if saying it gets them through the day, you can’t exactly turn them upside down cartoon fashion and shake them until something falls out. LOL

    It was good that you did find something meaningful to say to your cashier. She will probably remember it for years- someone cared enough to listen.

  10. Steffi says:

    Very nice post,Debbie .And I agree with Carla!

  11. philosophyoflife says:

    I guess it must still be windy – keep looking for a new post 😯

  12. Sirdar says:

    That last one was pretty weird. That was just weird. Have to think there is more to the story on her end…

  13. Pamela says:

    I suppose she was trying to make ends meet… part time workers at those super stores rarely have benefits.

    As for saying weird things, I do that once in awhile —

    person: How are you today
    Me: Fat and sassy ….

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