Monday, June 25, 2007
I was just taking care of mundane business. We had lots of forms to fill out before Luke went off to college, and one of them involved his health history, insurance, etc. I had to verify that our policy would fully cover him once he moved out of state. If not, Wheaton required that he purchase insurance from them, which was a $600/year expense I preferred to avoid. So I called Blue Cross and Blue Shield. I explained what I needed to know, and the woman brought up our account on her computer.
"Oh," she said, "Your children were born the same years as mine."
"Congratulations," I responded, and we both laughed. Then I added, "I guess you're in college mode, too."
"Well, actually, no . . ."
I listened as she chatted in her mid-western-don'tcha-know accent about what was going on with her kids, the whole while feeling a little amused and surprised that this woman was so eager to share her life with me. By the end I knew that she lived in Illinois, her 20-year-old son was engaged, her 17-year-old daughter (Tracey) would be a high-school senior in the fall and was a little concerned, because she'd signed up for Spanish, but her favorite teacher was leaving, and now she wasn't sure she would like it, and then after graduation, she planned to go to a college about an hour away from home to become an elementary ed major, but was having second thoughts, because she helped raise her little brother, who was only seven, and when Tracey recently took the snacks to his school for his birthday celebration, she realized how hard it would be to leave him in a year . . .
I threw in the occasional observation when she seemed to want it. Mostly I just enjoyed her accent and allowed myself to chill for a while till she finished her tale. I also answered all her questions about my kids, what they planned to study, what they wanted to do with their lives. I did eventually get all the info I needed about our insurance. Luke would be covered. So that was nice.
As I was about to hang up, she encouraged me to call her (like I can determine who answers my call after navigating all the voice mail options?) if I needed anything else. We parted friends. Or at least it sure felt that way.
I hung up feeling kind of happy about the fact that friendliness exists everywhere, that not all people are cold or cynical or suspicious. Some folks just want to find the something--anything--in common and connect with another human for a while. Even if that human is just the voice of a stranger on the other end of the phone.
Let's live with our eyes and ears open. Friends may show up where we least expect them, don'tcha know!