The old me always put special effort into interactions with cashiers or customer service personnel. My goal was always to make them laugh. I once spent 45 minutes on the phone with a bank’s customer service staff. I wouldn’t end the call until I made them laugh out loud. Eventually, they did—at my commentary on the sad state of my IRA balance.
Since Constance’s passing, my goal seems to be the opposite. There is no need for them to wonder why I’m buying moving supplies because I’ll tell them—my child is dead and so I must move. If they are curious why mascara is running down my face, they need not speculate because I will state the cause—my child is dead and so I can’t predict or control when I will cry. Then, boundaries be damned, I will hug them.
My exuberant, extroverted nature seems to be a gift only when I’m not treating every person I interact with as an opportunity to overshare and unload.
In lieu of some amount of self-liberty, I now utilize self-checkout and online shopping. Isolation over self-control.