The Donut Guy

At Cub last week, in the wee hours, I decided to go through the regular check-out instead of the self-serve.  I didn’t have a lot of items but I had several non-baggable items and those always make the self-checkout problematic.  As I was unloading the last of my stuff onto the conveyor belt, a guy started a line behind me.  He only had a couple of things including a big box of assorted donuts.  I smiled (although he probably couldn’t see it since I was masked) and said “Oh, you’re the donut guy this morning!”  He laughed and said yes.  Then he said “You know, I tried that Kato diet (that’s how he pronounced it) and I just can’t take it anymore.  I didn’t realize until now how much I love bread.”  I laughed too because when I tried keto, I didn’t make it long either for exactly the same reason.  I asked him if he wanted to go ahead of me since he just had two items and he answered no, since I already had all my items out of the cart.  We both left Cub at the same time and he said “have a great day.”  It was such a nice encounter in the pre-dawn hours.

Do you talk to strangers when you’re out and about?

33 thoughts on “The Donut Guy”

  1. People out here talk to strangers all the time. I think it is a rural thing. The other day I was in line at the grocery store behind a very large, grizzled, and unkempt man who had an enormous pit bull with him on a leash. The dog was a sweetie, very well trained and friendly, and the guy was intent on having the dog greet everyone in line,, which they did quite happily.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. I believe I talk to strangers more now than I did years ago. Or maybe strangers are more likely to talk to me as I grow (shrink) into a kindly(clueless-looking) old man. 😉

    As Renee said, small towners tend to be more outgoing to strangers than big city folks. I think it’s simple math. if you walk a few blocks down a city street, you may pass a hundred people. Tough to decide which stranger to talk to, and if you talked to even half of them, you’d never get where you’re going. In Owatonna, if I walk a few blocks during the weekday, I’ll pass maybe five people. I might know or recognize one and say “hi,” and probably make eye contact and acknowledge the presence of the other four.

    When I walk on the city trails, I always try to say hi to those going the other way. Older folks ALWAYS say “hi.” Teens down to about eight years old–never. Three-year-olds are the best! They haven’t met anyone they didn’t like in their brief time on earth.

    But yes, standing in line in a store at a checkout line almost always invites someone to start chatting with a stranger next to them. Why not? What else ya gonna do while you wait to pay for your stuff?

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Chris mentions shrinking into old age. The last time I was in for my annual physical, the nurse measured me as two inches shorter than I was the previous year. I think this must be a mistake, but if it isn’t and I keep shrinking at this rate, by about 2055 I’ll have disappeared entirely.

      The last couple of years social distancing has not been conducive to chatting in checkout lines. I always try to chat a little with the checkout clerk. When I’m out walking, it’s usual to greet other walkers you pass but for some reason people this week were not making eye contact. It was a little strange…

      Liked by 7 people

      1. I noticed that too, about the not making eye contact recently. The saddest part of Covid precautions was when dog owners stopped letting their dogs greet people. The poor dogs would be wagging their tails, eager to come over and say hi, and the humans would YANK the leashes and pass by without a word or a moment of eye contact. I’m sure they were terrified green of the virus, but I would still get annoyed by the rudeness and the rough way they were correcting their dogs. I hope those dogs don’t end up scared of people, but that seemed to be what some of those owners were aiming at.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Sometimes I do. It depends on my mood and the situation. A friendly nod or “hi” when I pass someone on the street or a walking path is usually a safe bet, even with kids and teens, but I find that so many people in public nowadays are so engrossed in their cell phones that it’s often difficult to make eye contact. Standing in line at the grocery store is sometimes conducive to the exchange of pleasantries. Like Bill, I also make a point out of chatting with the person checking out my purchases, and am happy to report that most people do – at least from what I’ve observed at the stores I frequent.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. The day will come, Chris, when no matter how much you stretch, you’ll not be able to reach your former stature. I’m 2 and 1/2 inches shorter than I was in my prime, but unlike, Bill, I don’t think I’m in any immediate danger of disappearing completely; I seem to be spreading.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Gravity’s great for a lot of things, but certainly not a friend to seniors. If we lived long enough, we’d possibly all end up as flat round disks about 6 inches high and three feet in diameter. 😦



  3. My dilemma here is that I invariably run into people in public who are current or former clients. They want to give me updates on how they are doing, and don’t seem to care who hears. The other day I was in the liquor store and I ran into a young woman who I worked with when she was a teenager. I was somewhat surprised and said I she couldn’t possibly be old enough to be in the store. She rolled her eyes and said “I’m almost 40!”

    Liked by 5 people

    1. One of the most distressing parts of trying Facebook was that former clients found me and gave me updates on that platform in very public ways. I love hearing from former clients, and I value those contacts. Just not on FB.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m somewhat puzzled, Renee and Jacque. If a former client wants to update you on how they’re doing, even in a public forum such as Facebook, why does that make you feel uncomfortable? I think to a large extent it’s the secrecy and shame associated with mental health issues that continue to plague us. Am I wrong?

        Here’s an example that popped up in my “memories” on Facebook today. It’s a post written by a singer/songwriter friend of mine in 2017. To my mind it took tremendous courage to write and share it so openly. She’s no longer in the music business, but is doing well pursuing other interests. I copied her post and emailed it to her privately to let her know I was thinking of her. I know she’s now in a better place mentally, and I greatly admire her valiant struggle with demons that I’m blessed to know only from a distance. Here’s what she wrote:

        “Two years ago – March 2016 – my downward spiral had become a free-fall. There were several events, one after the next, that happened. Life things. Human being things. Several dear friends had passed away – David Rodriguez, Guy Clark, John Jennings, John Glick. And then there were a couple of ego-crushing career situations (imagine that, the music industry!). By late March my brain went completely hay-wire and all rational thought got hijacked by a monster. The monster has a clinical name: “Treatment resistant major depressive disorder”, but all I knew was I didn’t want to exist anymore. I couldn’t get out of bed, I couldn’t open my mail, I couldn’t shower or brush my teeth or talk to anyone. For months. It felt like I was drowning in an ocean of my own tears. The anguish my soul was suffering manifested in a physical pain in my skin and bones. I felt like an epic failure, a disappointment and a burden to my friends, completely alone in the universe. I longed for connection but felt unworthy of it. I longed for the end of my life.
        I managed to set up a visit with my therapist who walked with me through a process of getting help. I tried various medications, weird experimental treatments, support groups, diet and exercise. Six months into actively fighting the disease I found a medication that began to work for me and that was the beginning of stepping back out into the world, and into myself. The monster was leaving the building. A full year after that, a second medication brought me fully into myself in a way that I had never known possible. Today, by the grace of all things good, I’m in remission. I have to maintain my wellness practices, because I know that bastard is lurking in some dark alley of my brain. But today life is good. Life is so very good!
        One of the most critical points in my recovery was sharing about it to my monthly newsletter friends, and on social media. The response, commissary, and support I got from my community here wrapped me up and held me while I clawed my way out. It took the strength of thousands of you pulling the rope to raise me up and out from the depths. I was reminded that people are good, that everyone struggles in their own dark caverns; depression, anxiety, substance issues, physical or mental abuse, family troubles… It’s all the same monster to me.
        In my fallow period, I wrote songs that became my latest album, The Fallow Year. I recorded it last December with a truly inspired sonic mentor, Malcolm Burn. The songs were conceived of the dark, but emerged as flashlights, highlighting the exquisite beauty of life. I performed these songs for audiences all over the world last year and discovered that they were healing people. I know because every night after the shows people would come up to me and tell me so. Speaking out about mental health issues has become my mission these days. As a result, The Fallow Year has become a mental health awareness project. I have never been more proud of, or more grateful for the work that I get to do.
        There’s one week left before the deadline of the Kickstarter campaign for The Fallow Year. I hope you’ll check it out, contribute some pocket change, and talk to folks about it so we can spread the solace of healing to those who have known this particular suffering. Here’s the link to the project, The Fallow Year | Songs of Solace for the Suffering:…/the-fallow-year-songs-of…
        If you are struggling, please know that you matter. Know that I love you. I’m so grateful for you and your beautiful tender heart. Your tears are the dearest part about you. I’m glad you’re alive to read this, to feel your feelings, and to be a part of my universe. You can email me or message me anytime of day or night. I’ll be so happy to talk with you, to sit with you, to hold your hand, to cry with you, to lift you up and see you through. Thank you for existing in this world and being a part of mine.”

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The privacy laws have strict proscriptions about what a therapist can acknowledge regarding a client/former client, that even speak to saying “hello” in a public place. At worst, we can lose our licenses to practice just by allowing clients access to a FB account if our privacy settings are incorrect. There are now “electronic media policy” agreements to protect us and clients. In the past the tendency of people to gossip about peoples’ problems led to these strict, tight regulations. It is the client’s right to privacy, even if the client chooses to disclose information.

          Liked by 4 people

        2. I figured it had something to do with possible legal ramifications, but it’s crazy that you can be liable for something that a former client may do or say in public.

          Liked by 3 people

  4. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    One of the joys of travel is that travelers seem to shed their reserve and just start interacting without inhibitions. I know that when I do this, I leave behind “the list of things to be done Right Now,” then relax and just start to enjoy the thing I am doing now. Last Monday, as my mother was descending into her health crisis, we had a 4 hour train trip scheduled with friends, through a canyon just south and west of Sedona. During the 2 hour car trip to the station, I texted back and forth with the siblings about the latest status, and especially about “find the hospital social worker immediately, and have him/her contact the nursing home social worker to preserve the placement.” After that happened we arrive at the train station, where we waited with the rest of the strangers and started chatting. The people were lovely and delightful. We laughed about the one person there who is the rarely sighted “Native Arizonan.” We boarded the train and soon we had to turn off our phones because there were no signals in the canyon. I was so glad to be there. The trip was scenic and slow, and full of chats.

    OT, Mom was returned to the nursing home yesterday in her newly diminished state. She will be assessed for hospice level service today.

    Liked by 6 people

  5. I do but cautiously. Here in Franklin, Ohio seems to be a location where sex offenders are congregated. I get those card notices of move-ins three or four times a year. I took a look online and that situation was confirmed to me. When I first moved here, the landlord was suspicious. She asked if there was anything negative that would be found in a background check. There wasn’t nor will there be! But given the circumstances, I’m cautious not just for myself but for others who might wonder about why an old, fat guy is talking to them. A sad situation.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. Morning-
    I’m not good at small talk. Dogs help; I can’t help but smile at dogs. And I don’t always like being talked too. Depends on the day and the mood I guess. I might complain that no one would talk to me one day and the next day, complain people were too chatty. I’m hard to get along with. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Truth be told, a little awkwardly, I think I used to be more outgoing but I’ve always found small talk to be challenging. I agree that covid made it harder. Mostly I want to stay six feet away from others now, and I find that if you talk to them, they get closer and closer and lose that newly cultivated boundary. This triggers my anxiety. I don’t meet anyone’s expectations for a woman of my age and it stinks to be judged, which does happen more in rural Minnesota than in the Cities. It is very normal to strike up a conversation with a stranger or someone who is vaguely familiar at a store checkout. I’m not always comfortable with it though and I just want to get home. I get a sense of anxiety and claustrophobia which has only increased with covid. I probably come off as being unfriendly and I’m aware of it but I really just want to get out of the store. I’m finding that people here are less friendly all the time. I have tried to come out of my crabby shell but people aren’t always receptive anymore.

    Someone mentioned walking dogs. I walk Pippin twice daily and he is reactive on his leash. I do keep him close to me when others are around. He almost got hit by a bike once when someone came up on us from behind and didn’t announce their presence by saying something or dinging a bell. I stay aware of what is going on around us all the time now. He has developed some really annoying small dog behavior which disappears when he is off his leash. He chases bikes, barks at people walking by – even when I’m saying Hi, barks at little noisy kids, and tries to pick fights he cannot win with pit bulls. Keeping him under control is my responsibility. I don’t yank him away because that would hurt but I stay aware and keep him close to me when others are around. The closer I keep him, the more reactive he becomes. He seems to think that mama is telling him there is danger. That’s not the message I want him to have but that is apparently what he thinks. Sometimes I even step off the trail and have him Sit so that he understands he can’t go around chasing everybody. I wish it worked better. We may need dog training.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. You would get along well with YA. She thinks the fact that I talk to strangers in the grocery line or at the hardware store is ridiculous.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I must have learned from my mom to start up talking with anyone you can, and I imagine her mom was like that too, so I’ll say some “test” remark to see if the other person wants to go there, and surprisingly often they do. Michael just shakes his head, and Joel used to, till he started doing it too.

    My personal favorite is when I can get something going in an elevator.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Brings to mind my years working in the Midwest Plaza Building. Judge Miles Lord, at the time newly retired from the bench, worked in a law office a couple of floors above my firm’s offices. I’d often ride the elevator with him, and he always would make a point of making some witty quip. He knew, of course, that we all knew who he was. He seemed to be a gregarious person who liked attention, always friendly and smiling.

        Liked by 3 people

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