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Not Too Many Friends

December 20, 2018

Have you ever considered how lucky you are to not know everyone? To not have too many friends?

I went to WalMart today. I went twice. At least I think it was only twice. It’s that time of year. My lovely wife ordered all her Christmas gifts weeks ago. Packages have been arriving almost daily.

I guess I should be better. I’ve got most of what I need for Christmas. This evening the trip was to get some gift cards for kids who are further away, and lightbulbs. I needed lightbulbs.

The holidays can be a lonely time for people. It’s something that we all worry about. Suicide hotlines put on extra people on the phones. We all make an extra effort to reach out to our neighbors. We call family and tell them we love them.

Maybe it’s the time of year. Maybe I just had a down day. But, I really wasn’t interested in talking to anyone. WalMart is like a big old school mall. It has everything a community would need. It has food, clothing, bedding, tools. I would imagine there are even some where you can buy a car. I know you can at Costco. You probably can at WalMart.

So, it’s kind of like a big 40,000 square foot village. But, the people come and go. Some we know, some we don’t, and some just look vaguely familiar.

Like I said, I didn’t want to talk to anyone. Every time I thought I recognized someone I tried to think of how to avoid talking to them. And then, I realized I didn’t know them after all and we walked passed each other in opposite directions.

Because I was buying gift cards I couldn’t use the self checkout lines. I had to talk to a checker. It wasn’t too bad. We made small talk. He had to cancel out one of the cards because he got the amount wrong the first time. That meant a supervisor had to come over. But, it was fine.

As I gathered my bags and started to walk out I thought I recognized someone. Quickly I tried to figure out how to avoid talking to him. Then I realized I didn’t know him after all and we walked passed each other in opposite directions.

It occured to me how inconvenient it would be to know everyone. Every person you passed would want to stop and talk. They’d want to make small talk. Say “Hello, how have you been?”

I have lots of facebook friends and linkedIn connections. I follow only a few of them. Is it because I’m afraid of running into them in WalMart?

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2018 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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