Right back ‘atcha

Alphabet letters - c-h-a-t - hanging by wiresI was raised to chat people up. My dad was a fan of connection and passed on the gene.

Mom? Not so much. She was more reserved.

When people would finish a chat with my father, they tended to say things like, “Loved meeting you, Richard” or “Thanks for the laugh.”

To which my father would reply: “Right back ‘atcha.”

I probably fall somewhere in the middle of my parents’ styles, but connection is something I think saves most of us from lonely lives. Even when we’re surrounded by people. You just never know when a kind word or innocent statement will hit someone like a ton of bricks in the best possible way.

Some of my friends shake their heads as I chat my way through life with shopkeepers, my grocery checkout clerk, taxi drivers.

Shake away, friends.

Today, it came right back at me. All that good karma.

During lunch, I walked the dog and drove to the grocery store. After dropping off the groceries inside, I ran back out to the car to get the dog.

And locked myself out.

I had a conference call coming up, groceries that could spoil on the counter and a hungry dog outside with me. Did I mention no jacket? (Why do I still not listen to my mother’s good advice? Bring a jacket, just in case. I can still hear her scolding as I ran out the door as a teen.)

I immediately called Steve, the friendly locksmith who had replaced my lockset just a few weeks ago.

He answered, distracted. I told him who I was and that I needed him to unlock my door as soon as humanly possible.

“No can do,” he replied. “The soonest I could be there is well over an hour.”

As I fretted and clucked, he seemed disinterested.

And then, I hit the mother lode.

“Ok, Steve. It’s the same door you fixed last month when you stopped by. I’ll see you when you can get here.”

He paused. “What did you say your name was?” After I told him, the lightbulb went on. And his tone suddenly changed. “I’ll be right over,” he said. “I can stop by before this next appointment.”

Puzzled by the sudden switch in attitude but happy it was to my benefit, I waited. No more than 10 minutes later, he parked his van in my driveway. Smiling, he had me in my door lickety split.One happy smiley

As I wrote him a check, he offered this: “You were so nice last time I was here. A really nice lady. And we had such a good conversation about Catholic schools. And our dogs. You were a bright spot in an otherwise awful day. I just couldn’t leave you out in the cold.”

Aha, now I understood.

We had made a connection. One I did not think twice about but he must not make with a lot of clients. Our chat was the reason I stood out in his mind.

Thanks, Dad. Lesson well taught. Groceries saved, shivers averted, dog fed.

Don’t think connection matters? The world will throw that right back ‘atcha.

And if, like me, you feel the opposite is true, well then the world will throw that right back ‘atcha.

Take your pick.



18 Comments Add yours

  1. Great story! This is something I will try to remember.

  2. Chris Edgar says:

    Yes, this reminds me of a comment I got from an employee at a coffee shop I go to basically every morning — “you’re one of the few customers who actually makes eye contact when you’re ordering.” Apparently even that made an impression, which is an unfortunate testament I suppose to how distracted or dissociated people are when they’re going through their morning routines.

    1. candidkay says:

      It’s true. We all have so much coming at us that I think we tend to withdraw into our own distracted, sometimes overwhelmed, minds. The Europeans seem to hold best to all things civil and in moderation . . .

  3. Interesting…Here in NY, speed is of the essence, so chatting with people is sometimes lower on the list of priorities. I enjoy chatting with people when I have the time. Like you, I value connection over mere transaction.

  4. markbialczak says:

    Good job Kate. Fresh air can only blow through open windows, my friend. I’m a chatter, too, and the karma is usually good from the connections.

  5. Ninasusan says:

    That’s the way I journey through life too!

  6. drranjani says:

    My husband is the chatty type – little kids, taxi drivers, store clerks. I am the impatient one as I watch the connections being made. I hope the good karma comes full circle for him and for us too.

  7. Ellen Rogers says:

    Very true! I am this way also. I take breakfast and cookies to my car mechanics on a regular basis.

    1. candidkay says:

      Those are lucky care mechanics! And I bet you never hear, “We couldn’t figure out your problem.”

      1. Ellen Rogers says:

        No, they treat me like gold.

  8. Wise words Kay. Law of Attraction in full swing 🙂 Namaste

  9. suemclaren24 says:

    So, so true! I’ve felt the rebound many times, and marveled at how it works. Thanks for putting it into words with such a succinct example.

  10. Chris C says:

    haha, you know where I fall on this – think you’ve had a few walks get stalled in front of my house 🙂

    1. candidkay says:

      You’re so right. But stalled walks are a beautiful thing when you connect . . . now if I can just convince my furry friend of that as she pulls at the leash . . .

  11. Chris Hauri says:

    I was just trying to think how I “know you” to have gotten your blog link…and then remembered we were chatting at Ten Thousand Villages when I was on volunteer duty! So glad we did because your blog is a bright spot in my day! Keep on chatting!

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh, Chris, that is just kismet:). You’re absolutely right. We were chatting! I actually do walk the talk . . . thank you for stopping by my blog. Glad to have you and glad it brightens your day.

  12. This is SO true! My friends tease me for being able to talk to a light post, but it has served me well. I don’t think of myself as especially chatty, but I sincerely value my interactions with people, whether it’s the guy ringing up my order at the local bakery or my neighbors from thirty years ago. We all need connection!

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