“My boyfriend is married,” the woman sitting next to me said.
I twisted in my seat and surveyed the room. Had I walked into the wrong workshop? I thought I was in How To Become A Published Author – not Confessors Anonymous.
“And I wrote a children’s book,” she continued.
So I was in the right room! I turned and faced the woman.
“Um … how interesting,” I said before staring straight ahead – praying she wouldn’t continue the conversation.
For whatever reason, people tend to confess to me and my husband. We’re not sure why this occurs, exactly. We don’t look like priests, or interrogators. Or therapists. Yet, there have been several incidents where complete strangers share rather personal information with us. And it’s not your run-of-the-mill too much information that we’re all accustomed to. (Coworkers sharing their recent bowel woes; a woman standing behind you at the grocery store rattling off what she is making for dinner; the man waiting for his sandwich at the deli telling you why he hates a certain political party.) No, we’re talking confessions.
“So … I got an executive massage,” the man installing our furnace told my husband when he had gone into the basement to see how the installation was progressing.
“Yeah. It’s right off Exit 7. They give executive massages. Know what that is?”
“Uh … I have an idea,” my husband said, “So … can I get you anything to drink?”
“Nah, I’m fine. I brought a bottle of water. But I love going to that massage place.”
Why on earth would this complete stranger tell my husband such a thing? (For those of you who don’t know what an Executive Massage is, let’s just say it’s illegal in most states. Including the state where Exit 7 is located.)
I wish I could say my husband and I look like really nice people who love to listen to others, and that is why random people tell us rather lurid secrets. But that’s certainly not the case. If these were supposed to be serendipitous moments, my husband and I ruined our chances of helping these people. In fact, I scooted my chair several inches away from the Home Wrecking Children’s Book Author. Likewise, my husband didn’t exactly seize the moment to provide much needed advice to this man who confessed to frequenting an underground prostitution ring. In fact, my husband didn’t venture into the basement again until the furnace installation was complete.
Could it have been fate? Well, if it were, I quote Lemony Snicket: “Fate is like a strange, unpopular restaurant filled with odd little waiters who bring you things you never asked for and don’t always like.”