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Friday, June 8, 2012

It's All In the Face, or The Baggage People Carry


The woman on the elevator turns to me.  “I have a very serious illness, you know,” she says. 

No.  I didn’t know that.  But soon I will, and do you know why?

Because I have the face that launches a thousand confessions. 

“I wanted to name my first dog Bowser,” says the man on the bus.

“Is that right,” I say.

There is a silence.

“You want to know why I didn’t?” he says.

“Sure,” I say.  “Hit me.”

“Because my mom thought it was a terrible name.”

I look at him.  By all appearances, he appears to be firmly entrenched in his 60s. 

“Well what’s it to her?” I ask.

“EXACTLY,” he shouts.  Heads turn and he leans in to whisper angrily.  “Exactly.  What the bricken bracken fargle raggen was it to her?”

He didn’t really say “bricken bracken fargle raggen” of course.  He was a bit more vehement than that.

But you get the picture.

I assure him that Bowser is a perfectly reasonable name for a dog -- and I get off the bus two stops earlier than I need to.

It’s good for my legs. 

My father has this face as well, this tell-me-your-secrets face.  “Does it kill me to listen?” he says.  “No.  You nod, you take them seriously, you let them speak.  People just want to be heard.” 

And so I let them speak.  Because it doesn’t cost anything to listen.  Because the more people there are, the fewer voices we hear. And because it is the way of my people.

And because it doesn’t kill me to listen – and when it does, the exercise is good for me.

51 comments:

Mandy_Fish said...

"Because I have the face that launches a thousand confessions."

I think I have this face too. And I like listening. It keeps me from saying too much.

Sioux said...

Is that ALL the woman said to you? Seriously?

You and Linda O'Connell and T'Mara Goodsell---all three of you are weird magnets...

Eva Gallant said...

You are a saint. You have much more patience and tolerance than I.

Shelly said...

The face often mirrors the heart, and you, my friend, have a good heart. It's a good thing in this world to run across someone with a sympathetic face and a warm heart.

Simply Suthern said...

For a while I had the face that Cops would ask, "Dont I know you"? "Didnt I run you in last week"? They didnt thank goodness but I would like to have met the guy they did. Or do I?

You should get rid of your, "You know I'm writing this down" lapel pin.

Roly Clu said...

LOL Just be a good listener and smile n nod :)

Pearl said...

:-) The woman in the elevator didn't go on long (only 12 floors!) but she did let me in on how many doctor appts she had that week). I wished her luck.

Meeling said...

I found myself nodding my head reading this. I too have been in this situation, many, many times.

It's when people want to hold my hand & pray for me in public that I feel your need for sudden exercise - that's one that is just a little too much for my smile and patience to handle!

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

And, when they are done speaking, Pearl starts writing.

savannah said...

*sigh* i'm the talker, sugar. i probably should write more often and let the words out on the page...xoxoxox

CarrieBoo said...

Yesterday I crossed the road to talk to a woman with a dog, and I realized that I had become one of those crazy talking people!

Bowser. LOL!

Happy Frog and I said...

Hi Pearl, I could really relate to this post. People often share their secrets with me whether I want them to or not, it is weird.

Mamma has spoken said...

I love hearing other people's stories. It gives me entertainment to share with the family at dinner time.

haphazardlife said...

I love that you have such a face. It gets us some mighty good blog posts.

bill lisleman said...

Pearl after listening a bit you could tell them the latest about your cats. At that point you'll either bond or stop the conversation. I seem to get approached for info or directions. I like to think I look like I know where I'm going.

TexWisGirl said...

you have a gift that keeps on giving...

Symdaddy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Symdaddy said...

My face merely seems to invite such comments as "Miserable git!" or "Who died?"

I wonder in which era I have entrenched myself?

vanilla said...

...and my dad said, Look them in the eye and really listen.

The man could tell you the color eyes of anyone he ever met, and they were legion.

(I think he was memorizing color as opposed to listening.)

Joanne said...

I don't mind listening. People really are full of great stories, when you get to the core. That poor guy with the controlling mother. But what if he took it wrong and she was trying to make him more assertive. Oh, dear...

esbboston said...

I am glad you have improved legs.


My suggestion is set up an advice booth like Lucy from Charles Schultz. Only charge a modern price of $200 an hour, like aLL great psychoanalysts. WeLL, psycho something, your choice. Inflation.

Dawn @Lighten Up! said...

God love ya, Pearl, you are a great listener. I know this for a fact. :)

Dawn @Lighten Up! said...

God love ya, Pearl, you are a great listener. I know this for a fact. :)

Dawn @Lighten Up! said...

God love ya, Pearl, you are a great listener. I know this for a fact. :)

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

You should have been a therapist, Pearl! Inspiring that kind of trust in others is a special gift -- though it may, at times, mean getting off the bus two stops early!

Shea Goff said...

Sometimes I think we just give what we want to receive in this world. You and your Dad have the faces of beautiful storytellers, no doubt.

It's why we're all listening, Pearl.

Chantel said...

I am immensly glad you listen so much....and then tell us all about it. The world is a more beautiful place because of people like you, darling Pearl.

jenny_o said...

I think people who need to unload really do look for a particular type of face - a kind one. Even the bricken bracken folks look for kindness, even if it's just so they can dominate without interference ...

♥●• İzdihër •●♥ said...

Loved this post.

Thanks for commenting.
Hope to see you more
Follow each other.

Indigo Roth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Indigo Roth said...

Yes, you have a kind, open face. Plus you look a little crazy. We are similarly afflicted; I get told secrets. Perhaps I look vacant and they think I'll forget?

The Six-Fingered Monkey said...

It is the storyteller in you... I suffer from the same affliction... No... I'm blessed with the same gift.

Mr. Charleston said...

Oh Pearl, I have always wanted someone to confess to. To share my inner secrets with... someone who... UnderstandS. Are you that person? Have I hit the jackpot, or is the world just jacking me off again?
(If this is what your words can do, just imagine what could happen if I saw your face!)

Geo. said...

Hmmm. Bus eh? In his 60s. I did TOO say "fargle raggen"! Excellent post. My compliments.

NotesFromAbroad said...

You are so , so ..... so good. Just a good person.
I love you.
I still refuse to ride the bus but I love you.

Pat said...

Do you have Samaritans over there? You'd make a great one.

Tammy said...

I have that same curse. Love the philosophy of your people.

Raymond Alexander Kukkee said...

Why do people want to tell you everything? When you find out, let me know. They try to tell me everything too, but I resist....

The Elephant's Child said...

I have that face as well, and I am grateful. I suffer from insatiable curiosity and people feed the beast. I have met some wonderful people that way, and heard some weird (and wonderful) tales. It makes bus trips much more interesting as well.

klahanie said...

Pearl,
One has to learn to nod their heads at the right time. Get it wrong and note the perplexed looks.
And listening skills. So someone asks me, 'how are you?' I might say, 'I have a splitting headache, I'm noxious and I puked on my shoes...' They reply, 'oh that's nice!'
Have a peaceful weekend, Pearl.
Are you listening? :)

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

We must have that same kind of face. People always talk to me, too. And I always listen, nod, make the right noises and let them go ahead and keep sharing. It's both a talent and a good deed mixed together, isn't it?

Al Penwasser said...

As long as that lady in the elevator didn't follow her statement with, "So, I may as well detonate the bomb vest wrapped around my stomach," you're good to go.
Although, you may want to take the stairs next time.

That gentleman's lady said...

I scare people away.

Sad.

Secrets are way more interesting xxx

Tempo said...

I suspect Mary is sneaking in and writing on your forehead at night as you sleep. "Please talk to me"
All I need to know is where to buy the fadeing textas...

ThreeOldKeys said...

i wonder if Helen took notes when she was launching ships.

Daisy said...

So few people listen, most of us chatter away. You are a unique gift to many, Pearl

Hannah Denski said...

That's a open face speaking... open faces naturally welcome people to speak... nothing you can do about it, might as well listen - there's so many untold stories out there to be shared - through you! x

Laoch of Chicago said...

Listening is a lost art, but I know the pain of this. It is ok sometimes to just pretend to listen.

Diane said...

Pearl, what bus do you catch? I'm sure I can find it on Google maps. I need to tell you something . . .
:)

Amy said...

I am pretty sure I am the talking person and not the listening one. Though yesterday morning the older gentleman at the gas pump next to me, must have thought I had a listening face. I like being a listener, but was glad I only had ten bucks to put in the gas tank, and the windshield didn't really need to be washed.

NellieVaughn said...

I felt good about having a face that scares people. They stay out of my way, I stay out of theirs, but this just made me realize I should care. I should listen more often. Sometimes, I can't see past my own problems.