Anyway, I see both of these events as ordeals!
I recognize that I need to have contact with real live people in my day. But this can be got in small ways. Yesterday, for example, I was getting fidgety after getting kicked out of the pool and spending a lot of time in front of my computer at home. When I went downtown I found my way to the Koffee Klatsch, which is the oldest coffee place in SLO. Not to say it's old, of course, but it was the first in this town. The ownership has changed but the place looks the same. I am not certain I can still get a cappuccino in a glass cup through which I can see the layers. That is a treat. Yesterday I did not have a cappuccino, because a sign outside advertised mochas for $1. Why not, I thought, and ordered one, along with a biscotti for another buck. I set my bag down on a small glass table and went to the counter to pick up my drink and snack. When I returned to my table there was a little boy there with his chocolate drink.
A little boy with huge elfin ears! I wish I had a really small camera for situations like this. I asked him if he were sharing the table with someone, as I looked around for a likely mom or dad. "I'm sharing it with you!" he said. How could I resist? I asked him who he was with and he pointed out his mom and dad, both of whom were behind the counter. They own the joint now. I wanted to say something to them about the wonderful ears but I thought better of it. Some people would not see it as a compliment. Instead I asked him about his drink and how old he was. He demonstrated that he could blow into the chocolate and make bubbles and that he could suck it out with a little red stir stick. He held up his hand to indicate he was five years old. His mouth was otherwise occupied at the time. I asked him if he helped out. He said sometimes, but not often. When he finished his drink he popped up and brought the empty cup to his mother, telling her he had finished it. Similarly, I tossed my paper goods in the trash and brought the glass plate to the counter. I said goodby to the lad, whose name was Alex, and left.
That was more of an encounter than I usually have when I trek around town. But it isn't unusual for me to have a few words with a clerk in one place or another. I bought a calendar (cat cartoons) on sale at Barnes & Noble, and when I drew out my B&N card, the clerk said now it was really a bargain, and that she hoped there were more of these particular calendars because she wanted one too. The cartoonist who did the front cover was one of her favorites. My third encounter was with the clerk at the yogurt place, where I filled up my cup with a mix of chocolate, vanilla, and peanut butter yogurt, and sprinkled it with peanuts. Then I was short eight cents. She kindly let it go and I said I'd bring it in the next time.
Sometimes I think I buy things just for these short meetings. What a way to fill up the "social" needs bar without any commitment!