My wife, Elysha, runs into Starbucks while I wait in the car with the kids. She’s gone for less than five minutes. When she returns, she has a coffee in one hand and the phone number of a woman who lives two blocks over from us in the other.
We’ll be getting together with this woman and her husband for brunch soon, no doubt.
This is my wife. Everywhere she goes, she meets people, collects names and contact information and slowly insinuates them into our lives.
I’ve recently become aware that she has passed this propensity onto our daughter, Clara. Whether this trait was passed via nature or nurture is impossible to discern, but whenever Clara sees another child on the playground, in a restaurant, at the museum or anywhere else she goes, she immediately introduces herself and attempts to acquire the child’s name.
In many cases, these children are unprepared for this unexpected inquiry and flounder when asked to produce their names. Sometimes Clara will look to me and say something like, “That little boy doesn’t want to tell me his name! Why won’t he tell me his name?”
On Saturday we were playing on a wooden train outside a corn maze when I caught one of these moments on video:
Last night was Halloween, and the circumstances were no different. At each house on our street, Clara rang the bell, shouted “Trick or treat!” and collected her candy. Then we stood around for about three minutes, waiting for Elysha to finish her conversation with the neighbors, some of whom she barely knows.
Eventually, Clara and I said goodbye and proceeded without her, knowing that if we waited for Elysha, we might be trick or treating until midnight.
I’m not saying that my wife’s propensity for meeting people is a bad thing. We have made some amazing friends thanks to her willingness to engage strangers in conversation.
Of course, not everyone she meets and invites to brunch is a winner.
And there are moments when I just want to get from point A to point B without collecting three new phone numbers, friending two new people on Facebook and following someone new on Twitter in the process.
She’s been known to slow me down from time to time.
But I take the good with the bad. It’s mostly good.