I'm pretty good with the patrons at the library. I can make conversation about absolutely anything with absolutely anyone. I'm never left in an awkward silence. This is a marketable and enviable skill. I don't, however, always feel the need to make conversation with them. If they're checking out an item that I have previously loved, I'll tell them and probably follow up with why I loved it. I usually say that the characters are captivating or the themes are well developed. They respond with a small excitement that they've chosen a good item. I never make conversation with the women who check out hoards of romance novels. Really, what is there to say. Sometimes we talk about the weather and sometimes we talk about their reusable shopping bags which have on them a pleasant pattern. Sometimes they ask me questions about my life and I tell them. Because if I asked a stranger what they were studying in school, I would want to know the answer.
Yesterday, this patron came with a book to check out and told me he needed to pay for a board book that his son had accidentally destroyed. He didn't look old enough to have a toddler but then he didn't look much younger than me and I am, oddly - strangely, old enough, under the right circumstances i.e. marriage, to have a toddler. So I said, "Oh," and looked at his account. I told him the charge wasn't there yet but he did have a seven dollar overdue fine from the movie Passchendale. He probably could've bought it in the discount bin at Walmart for less than that. He said alright and that he would clear that fine. He also added that he hadn't even had the chance to watch the film. I told him I'd heard it was pretty terrible so it probably wasn't a big deal. Then he muttered something further.
"I'm sorry?" I asked.
"I see you everywhere," he said more clearly. I put together some syllables that had sounded something like astonishment that that could possible be the case in a town the size of Moose Jaw.
He emphasized further, "Like, everywhere. I see you everywhere I go. You're," he paused, "omnipresent."
I mentally noted that that was unlikely because I'd otherwise be a lot more productive. I continued dealing with his fine and the materials he wanted to check out.
"What's your name?" He asked. I told him honestly because it really is a small town and because I'm not quick enough to create an alternate identity. He followed up by telling me his name which I promptly forgot. So much for our new found friendship.