The long-running joke in our family is that if my dear husband didn’t have an errand to run, he’d invent one. And since his retirement, the number of weekly errands has at least quadrupled. I’m convinced he’d lose his mind if he were ever sentenced to house arrest.
I used to think that his constant run-outs were a way to refuel his batteries. After all, we’re both introverts who need our alone time. But now I’ve started to think that these errands are my husband’s way of socializing and re-creating the kind of neighborly interactions I associate with small town living. Clearly, he’s talking to folks on his run-outs, and the conversations include me.
This explains why Julie, the avid reader who works at the nursery, one of my gardening husband’s favorite hangouts, came to my book signing. And why the man at the liquor store, while advising me on what beer my husband might like for Father’s Day, announced he really enjoyed my vocals in the last CD of our music. And why yesterday, the friendly teller at the bank wanted to know how my book signing event the night before had gone.
I admit it. Thanks to my loquacious spouse, it’s been kind of nice to feel that folks know who I am and seem happy to see me. My college students who’ve grown up in small towns tell me that it can be stifling because “everyone knows your business.” But my husband’s regular conversations with folks on his errand run-outs have provided him with a sense of comfort and belonging, and I’ve benefited as well.
It’s like that line in the classic sitcom Cheers. It feels good to be in a place “where everyone knows your name.”