While waiting in line at the post office today, I had a brief exchange with an older woman about the terrible service. We wound up walking out at the same time - within minutes she'd managed to tell me about her heart problem, how she was going blind in one eye and the time she tripped and broke her arm. All my "needy old lady" alarms were going off. I readied myself to smile politely, give a few supportive "oh mys" and run for the hills.
Then, in honor of my life list, I thought, Why not stop and listen to her?
So I did.
She was actually very nice. I'd silently promised myself that I'd stand there until she ended the conversation, even if it took until dawn. It didn't. We (well, she) talked for about a half-hour before she said, "It's so darned foggy today, I think I'll just drive to the Rite Aid, and then go home - if I can see the street to get there. Did I mention I only have the one eye now?"
All in all, perfectly pleasant, although I waited until she'd cleared the parking lot before I dared hit the road.