The people from my town love to gossip.
Secretly, so do I.
With a population just over four hundred people, it’s small enough to know almost everyone and large enough to always have breaking news.
“I heard your family bought that business… I sure hope you can manage it better than the previous owners have!”
“Yeah, after her parents’ divorce, she sorta went off the deep end. She’s not even living in town anymore. Heard she moved in with a boy down south.”
“That grey house across the street from yours? I don’t know what’s going on, but there seems to be a suspicious amount of male guests stopping by.”
Like I said, small enough to keep up with, yet large enough to be scandalous on so many levels.
And I love it.
I thrive on my visits to the bank. The tellers seem to know everything happening in town.
And you must not pay for your gas at the pump. If the manager happens to be on duty, she’s always willing to show you the latest footage she caught on her surveillance camera.
Oh, and make sure you stop by the auto body shop. The gentleman who owns it is car-side before you can even roll your window down, and he’s more than willing to tell you who had a little too much to drink and hit the ditch.
If I knew how to quilt, I’d seriously contemplate joining the club at the nursing home. Of course, their senile murmurings of their grandson’s marital issues might not always be accurate, but at least I’d have news.
Yes, I’m a gossip junkie.
So imagine my surprise when I found out I was moving next month.
With woeful eyes, the bouncy red-haired teller at the bank told me, “I’m gonna miss you… so when do you make the move?”
“Um… what are you talking about.” I stopped endorsing the back of the checks and stared at her.
“Well, we heard the news.” She glanced at the other teller and lowered her voice, “You got accepted into the nursing program right?”
“Yeah, I did….”
“And we’re so happy for you, we really are… but we hate to see you leave.” She shook her head sympathetically.
“I’m not moving.”
“Wait. You’re really going to drive all that way to school?” Her voice began to escalate and the other teller glanced up from her computer.
“Yeah. It’s only a thirty minute drive.”
“But we heard….” The other teller cut in, “Someone came in here and told me you’d been accepted at Mayo Clinic.”
“Yeah… I was.”
“Well, depending on how fast of a driver you are, that seems a lot further than a thirty minute drive.”
It took five more minutes before I had the rumors settled. Yes, I’d been accepted by the college a long way away, but I’d also been accepted by the local college. As I retold the story the laughter heightened and soon the banker and loan officer joined us in the lobby for a non-farewell party.
And as I left the bank I realized…
True to form, gossip rarely brings people together, but rather tears them apart. And now looking back, as a retired gossip junkie, I realize how many times I’ve jeopardized my friendships by this addicting sport. It has always been and will always be honest communication that has the power to span the gaps caused by misunderstandings and save friendships.
And today, it saved me a hefty moving bill.