How To Know If You’re Too Nosy

MP900399215[1]I have been nosy all my life–if you look up the definition of  “Nosy Nellie” it’s quite possible you could find a picture of me as the example used except that my name isn’t Nellie and I’m not particularly photogenic.

But I am nosy.

I admit to this vice without hesitation because I realize that the evidence supporting the claim is overwhelming. I am nosy, or as I like to say, I’m a people-person, which means I’m interested in people. Surely that can’t be bad.

But I’ve often been told by my kids  thought that there are likely limits as to how nosy a people-person can be without crossing an invisible line that shouldn’t be crossed.

Last evening I discovered where in the sand that line is as it applies to me.

The following story is based on actual events although the names, places, dates and conversations may or may not  have occurred exactly as written here:

In the summer I love spending time at my cottage, and really love spending most of my waking hours there sitting on a swing on my screened deck. I enjoy hearing the coo of the morning doves, the whir of hummingbird wings as they dart to and fro around my plants, the flap of flags in my neighbors’ yards, the rustle of branches on the maple trees that shade my property against the sun and the conversations I overhear as other cottagers walk past my place or, during those rare evenings when the wind is quiet and the air is still, as other cottagers sit on their decks and chat with their visitors.

Last evening was just such an evening. The day had been humid and storm clouds hung in the distant sky. Rumblings of thunder punctuated the otherwise calm air, but they were not loud enough to drown out my neighbors’ voices as they engaged in conversation with their friends.

Even if I wasn’t interested in what they were talking about I couldn’t help but overhear them, although I did manage to tune them out for the most part for a good half-hour before my ‘nosy’ antenna began to vibrate.

For some unexplained, likely scientific reason, ‘nosy’ antennas can’t resist zeroing in on conversations that seem to need assistance, so when the little group of people nearby began to play ‘name that performer’, or at least that was the game they seemed to be playing and they weren’t being particularly successful at it, I lost interest in the interesting book I was reading and paid attention to the voices instead.

Steve Martin“Who is that guy…you know….that guy that used to be on Saturday Night Live….now he plays a banjo….he was in Cheaper By The Dozen and a bunch of other movies..?”

Nobody on that deck knew.

“Steve Martin,” I almost shouted, but I managed to talk myself out of doing that and tried to return to reading my book before the evening light became too dim.

The speaker began another  ‘Name That Star’ quest.

TimConway“I just loved the Carol Burnett Show….the skit from Gone With The Wind was so funny…and that guy that was on her show a lot…that funny guy….did a lot of skits with that other funny guy, Harvey Korman…”

“That was Dick Van Dyke,” said one enthusiastic player.

“No…not him…I just can’t think of his name…but he was so funny…”

“Tim Conway,” I wanted to shout…”It was Tim Conway! Please, for the love of all things merciful, stop playing this game because you are driving me crazy!”

Once again I stopped just short of providing the answer to a question I wasn’t asked, and it was at that moment I realized that I had no choice but to get up from my swing, hurry into my cottage and shut the patio door behind me, because my only other option–to mosey across my nearly dark lawn and jump into a conversation that wasn’t meant to include me–might not have ended well for this particular ‘nosy Nellie’.

I’m pretty sure that being known as nosy is one thing; being known as nosy AND crazy is quite another.

But last evening’s incident, as it later came to be known, may have been a blessing in disguise for me, because I now know that there is a line I will draw when it comes to being nosy.

Listening to conversations at airport waiting lounges and at bus station terminals and at tables near me in my favorite restaurant is okay; joining in on those conversations or providing answers to questions posed during those conversations is not okay.

Good to know.

What about you other nosy Nellies out there–have you ever jumped into conversations that weren’t yours to jump into? Were there consequences? Did you make new friends? Because when all is said and done I really am a people-person and I’m interested in your stories. Come on, I’m sure you have tales you could tell.

But please don’t think that I’m suggesting you join in on conversations to which you were not invited! You are cordially invited to join this one.  So, many thanks for dropping by and remember, don’t be a stranger.


Categories: Humor, Life, Summer, Writing | Tags: , , , , , | 8 Comments

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