I Love My Shop… But I Stay Away From People


Being in my antique shop makes me happy. I love bringing in new items, rearranging the whole place to make room for them and, at the end of the month, reviewing what I’ve sold — which helps me know what to buy for the next month. (By the way, the distressed, unusual and downright creepy always seem to sell first.)

You will notice that I did not mention taking money for these items. They have price tags and are for sale, but I personally don’t actually ring anything into the cash register, because that means dealing with, you know, people.

I used to like people (and by “people,” I mean strangers, not any of you). Then I got to know a couple of them. I began to wonder, what if they end up liking me? What if they wanted to be (gasp) friends? I don’t want any sort of ongoing relationship with, you know, people.

I have a couple of true friends (and yes, Dottie, I mean you) and, for them, I am the worst friend imaginable. I never call, I never write and when we get together, I ask them a few basic questions about what they’ve been up to, then launch into tremendous detail about what I’ve been up to. About six months later, we get together again. I don’t know why they do it.

In addition to friends, I have family. For anyone with a family, you know that maintaining those relationships is just about all one person can handle. I love my family to pieces, and that takes time. There are gifts to buy, cards to send, events to attend. I even call my parents on a semi-regular basis, not only to see how they are, but also because I enjoy talking to them. I know!

Here’s the thing with strangers, defined here as anyone who comes into my shop whom I don’t already know — you’re never sure what you’re getting.

A lot of people look okay on the outside, and then you talk to them for a minute and realize they are completely wackadoodle. And the crazier they are, the more they want to talk — that is a known fact. For my purposes, I define “crazy” as “anyone who sets off even the tiniest personal alarm.”

Now, most people hear that alarm and have developed polite ways of distancing themselves from that person. “I’ve gotta go” seems to work. But I never want to hurt anyone’s feelings, so I will talk with Ted Bundy or the Unibomber until they feel, “Here is someone who understands me. Here is a new friend.”

No. Not your friend. Not even close.

And to avoid these situations where one of two horrible things is going to happen — I am befriended by a crazy person or I am befriended by a sane person — I stay in the back of my store where I belong. Or in my car. Or in my house.

For me, interpersonal relationships are simply not worth the risk. However, distressed, unusual and downright creepy inanimate objects? I love them!