Lonely? Just say Hello Kitty!
I got carded in Target. I got carded in Target and made a date to have coffee with the woman who carded me.
Let me explain.
You know how it is. You go to Target for a bath mat and you leave with $100 worth Chip and Jo twinkly lights, a hello kitty coffee mug and a stuffed animal for someone in your future who might have a baby someday. Also, a can of silver spray paint.
Here’s how it went down.
Seriously beautiful Cashier: I need to see your ID.
Me: Confused because I was not paying attention. I was reading about Heather Locklear and her hoarding tendencies and trying to decide if the number of 3M hooks in my shopping cart could be considered hoarding.
Seriously Beautiful Cashier: “Ma’am. I need to see your ID.”
Me: Ma’am? Ugh. She called me Ma’am. Do I look like a Ma’am? If I look like a Ma’am why do I need to show my ID? I see she is holding the spray can and I pull myself out of my internal dialogue, my insular little space where no one judges me (who am I kidding I’m the harshest judge of me ever).
“Oh! Sure!” I put down my enormous latte and start the holy grail search for my ID. This is going to take some time and I am not good with silence. I say, “Do I still have to show my ID if I confess that I’m going home to put wine in my Hello Kitty mug and huff the night away?”
Seriously Beautiful Cashier: Laughs because I am wearing an ankle length down coat and people who wear Land’s End ankle length down coats do not usually Huff *see definition here “There is a lot cheaper brand of spray paint back there if you’re going to do that.”
Me: After I’m done with the wine and spray paint chaser I’m going to tag silver hearts on all the trees in my neighborhood.”
Seriously Beautiful Cashier: “I use red for that.”
Me: I laugh and then say. “We should do that together. Silver and red complement each other. We should be friends.”
Seriously Beautiful Cashier: “I work on Tuesdays. Come in and we can have coffee. You can tell me what hair stuff you use.”
Me: “Ok. But, you have to tell me how your skin is so gorgeous.”
I made a friend
This is how it could have gone
Me: “Do I still have to show my ID if I confess that I’m going go home, drink a glass of wine and huff the night away?”
Seriously Beautiful Cashier: SECURITY!
I wasn’t trying to make a friend. I was trying to defer the awkwardness of looking for my ID by laughing at the absurdness of the situation and trying to get her on my side because I am a kiss ass.
I have to give a talk at the Dream Bank Madison, Wisconsin 12/13 on how not to be lonely, even though I’ve been lonely myself and not really sure what to say about it.
So, I analyzed my ten minutes at Target and this is what I did.
I broke the fragile boundary of cashier/shopper, so she wouldn’t hate me for taking so long to find my ID. I pointed out something silly to see if she saw the same thing I saw. With that, I became vulnerable to what could end in an eye roll and rejection. I labeled myself a rebel to see if we were on the same team.
I created a tiny community of two in Target.
I looked up Community Building on the Google and sure-as-shit there it was. The criteria of a community: membership, a sense of mattering, fulfillment of needs, shared emotion.
We have a club now. Seriously Beautiful Cashier and I. Admittedly a very tenuous club but a club made in ten minutes somewhere between a Hello Kitty coffee mug and a shared moment.
Here’s what you might be thinking.
I’m not funny.
Many (my kids) would argue neither am I. Here’s another way to do it.
Me: You have beautiful skin. What do you use to keep it so pretty?
Small appropriate acknowledgment that we are the same = we both have skin, ask advice = you matter, needs = I see you. Shared emotion = bond.
That might not net you a coffee date but it starts the process of getting less lonely and connecting one small moment at a time.
You: Smile and say Hi (or if you prefer Hello Kitty).
Then come sit by me.
Photo by Sandrachile . on Unsplash
I can so hear this conversation, and I’m certain you made the cashier’s day!
Girl i am pretty sure you would have the same.
Love your story!
Thank you for saying so, Deb.
Love this so much! You made my day!
and by replying you made mine!
Thanks for the tip, and the laughs! Happy Holidays!
hahaha you’re welcome.
I seriously fell off my chair laughing, because a) it was funny but b) it was such an “aha!” Moment about how easy it can be to just be NICE! And look – you have a new friend!! Love this, Ann – thank you for making my day…and I would come sit by you anytime, with my Constant Comment tea, and just BE….
Oh Sue. We are friends.
Because you get me.
I smiled from your story. Thanks for the bridge of connection. The world needs that in bucketloads
We sure do. We sure do.
While this isn’t obviously, classic ‘networking’ you have such a skill at this ‘connection’ thing…and it IS a skill…naturally I have several astrological comments about this along with your statement about loneliness but will keep to myself…however I will say that I used your workshop on networking(where I actually met you face to face) as an example to make my point in a client reading I recorded this morning…so there you are, even making waves in the celestial heavens with my clients. xx
even making waves in the celestial heavens
I love you.
You are a girl after my own heart and your conversation sounds like it could have come right out of my own mouth. Always make a note to pay attention to the name tags on ANYONE who helps me including the stock boys, bag boys, cashiers, ANYONE! to acknowledge someone by their name is ALWAYS a compliment and hopefully makes them feel special and appreciated. It brings back the feeling of home town neighborhood stores.
Except for that one time in the liquor store in Decatur. The kid checking me out requested I’D and while I was digging through my wallet my Medicare card fell out and I asked if that would work….he just looked at me with a huh? expression on his face.
hahahah. awww those cards should come disguised.
That was amazing!! Thank you for sharing. I do stuff like that and if my daughter is around she smacks me for being weird. Not really, she just tells me not to be weird. I tell her at 66 I can
as weird as I want. be as
I think weird is the best thing ever!
You are funny and that’s wonderful! Reading this it appears lonely a choice.?
I mean, kind of? Maybe? I don’t know all that much really.
So true! And cool how you figured out the mechanisms of connection. Love this.
🙂 I think it was time before I got arrested.
This is so YOU, and I adore YOU! Taking notes.
I’ve been buying love… er… building community by taking my homemade peanut brittle with me everywhere I go. I find out if they’re part of my tribe by handing them a bucket & guaging their response to, “It’s vegan, it’s gluten-free, and otherwise it’s the crystal meth of candy. Hi, my name is Walter White.”
Can’t wait to see you Thursday! I’ll be the one with peanut brittle. Hello, Kitty.
I adore you and can’t wait to see you!!! Your candy is Ah-maz-ing. xoxoox
I used to be very social, especially when I was younger, single, worked in a professional environment, had kids at home, worked out at the gym daily, showered daily, that kind of thing. Writing keeps me internally engaged and I’m more introverted than before, but I don’t feel lonely. I find the 5 minute conversations about hot flashes and my ability to grow a 5 o’clock shadow by 2 o’clock (with the grocery store cashier) quite entertaining. I’ve learned my connections aren’t as deep as before, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t meaningful. The woman at the dog park ended up being the lawyer that helped me officially adopt my 26 yr old step daughter. That’s an amazing connection. ❤️ Andehat do you use in your hair? Don’t say diva curl. It doesn’t work for me.
*showered daily. I nodded knowingly.
Wow, that dog park connection was really the best that could ever be. I met one of my closest friends at the dog park.
She is also my vet.
Regarding curles….I have a really good haircut person. She is awesome. Plus, I use conditioner not shampoo to clean my hair. I rarely if ever shampoo. I use a t-shirt to wrap my hair up to dry then I put in gel. Not special get either. I sometimes diffuse it and then I break the curls down when they dry. It sounds complicated but it isn’t. xoxo good-curly luck
You have to have an ID to purchase spray paint? News to me. Can’t use liquor store boxes for sending Christmas gifts any more, either. News to Mom (87 and sure the liquor store is the place to go for free shipping boxes). Thanks for showing us a connection at this time of year when we’re all interacting (and maybe connecting) with cashiers a little more often than usual.
Oh so that is interesting. No liquor boxes. I guess that sort of makes sense but geez.
Maybe we need to connect with the liquor to ease our interactions. 🙂
Oh boy. I do the same thing. I don’t card how I come out looking, I always make people laugh so I feel less awkward.
I’d love to know what you put in your hair! I’m a fellow curly-writer and have been too timid to ask how you maintain such definition and keep the frizzies at bay.
I have really good hair cut person. She is awesome. Plus, I use conditioner not shampoo to clean my hair. I rarely if ever shampoo. I use a t-shirt to wrap my hair up to dry then I put in gel. Not special get either. I sometimes diffuse it and then I break the curls down when they dry. It sounds complicated but it isn’t. xoxo good-curly luck.
Oh gawwwwd. Lonely? Those months and months after moving to a new city when the closest thing to a personal interaction was in the checkout line at Trader Joe’s. That time the TJ’s cashier presented me with a bouquet of flowers after hearing about my financially devastating visit to the IRS that day. OMG, love the phrase “…huff the night away”! Thanks for the laughs, Ann! XO
YOU make me laugh all the time. OH MY Lord sweetie you got flowers from the TJ Maxx cashier. #goals. Lets chat soon. xoxoxo
I’m the same way. It’s kind of weird because I am actually really shy but when it comes to interacting with servers or cashiers I’m usually good. I try to create a bond through humor and most of the time it works. It doesn’t matter if I’m the one having a moment or if something has gone wonky on their end, life is too short to not laugh at it every chance you get.
Life is tooo short NOT to laugh. I agree! Thanks for saying hello Deidrah!
Ann, you are so cool! I love this story, it made me smile! Thank you! XOXOXO
Betty you are so cool too. 🙂 I’m so glad I make you smile.
I seriously LOVE you, Ann! And I am cracking up because I chat like this (though much less wittily than you) with EVERYONE. My kids and their friends all have a phrase–Classic Leah–when I do stuff like this. I take pride in being able to talk with anyone, anywhere. I’m going to use this argument now – I’m building community!
Thanks for making the world a better place for sharing your joy and humor! xo
Leah!! Thanks girl 🙂 We are chatters! We would be friends. YES use this language…building community instead of being chatty.
Thanks Lori 🙂
How nice you made a friend with a sense of humor
Reminds me of your wonderful sense of humor and our coffee dates in Stoughton. Hope all is well!!
Come to Norse afternoon of fun!
I absolutely love this!!!!! From huffing spray paint, to tagging buildings, to making her day a little brighter!
🙂 thanks girl. I still don’t know what I’m going to say in my talk. 🙂
Great story, Ann! I’m sorry I’m so late to the party reading and commenting. What I want to know is, did you go to coffee with Seriously Beautiful Cashier, and what did you talk about? I feel like there’s more to this story and would love to know how it turns out! Also, wishing you and your loved ones a happy New Year!
I never did. Christmas came and we all got busy. But I loved writing about it.