Dear Ellen: Am I a horrible person?

I write letters to Ellen DeGeneres. No particular reason. Just because I can.

Dear Ellen,

With each passing year, I’ve become more and more of an introvert. I’m the person at the wild party, hiding in a dark corner with her e-reader. It’s not that I don’t like people; I have friends. But if people aren’t in my circle of friends, I’d rather not talk to them – unless they’re serving me food or giving me money. In an ideal world, they’d do both without prompting. Unfortunately, I don’t live in that alternate reality.

It wasn’t until I was at the park with my kids that I realized how much of an introvert I’ve become. While my kids were playing, a little girl – probably eight years old, sat down at the picnic table with me. There was only one picnic table at this park so it’s not like she could’ve sat somewhere else.

I smiled at her and then continued watching my kids. Before I realized what was happening, this little girl started talking to me about anything and everything. My first thought was, “It’s talking to me. Why is it talking to me?”

She continued rambling on about whatever she was rambling on about. I looked her up and down. She was cute as a button with long, dark hair and big, brown eyes. And still, while I was looking at her all I could think was, “Does it have an off button? A mute button? How do I make it stop?”

I felt bad knowing these thoughts were lurking through my mind. She was obviously lonely. Her parent/care-giver was nowhere to be found. Then again, the park was located in the center of a residential community, encircled by a group of houses that all had windows/sliding glass doors facing the park. Her mother was probably standing at one of those windows, watching her through the scope of a sniper rifle, eyeing everyone her daughter spoke to with great suspicion and ready to pull the trigger on anyone who so much as sneezed on her child.

[Random Thought Alert!]

****It’s a good thing I remembered to take my allergy medicine before leaving the house.****

[End of Random Thought]

Obviously I’m only guessing on her mother’s whereabouts. But I feel my guess is within reason because that’s where I’d be if it was my child.

Eventually the girl found some other kids to play with and the chatterbox-talking stopped. I felt relieved and at peace with the world. Yet, I’m left wondering, am I a horrible person because I was uncomfortable with a child I didn’t know, trying to engage me with conversation?


A. Marie

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20 thoughts on “Dear Ellen: Am I a horrible person?

          1. Guess I’m kind of a sucker for children since I never had any of my own. I must have a Listening face. Anyway I now know the merits of various types of potato chips!! LOL!! 🙂 😀

          2. I love kids. But I’m much better with kids I know than ones I don’t. It also makes me nervous when their parents aren’t around – not that I’m judging.

  1. One day while waiting for the subway a school boy maybe 10, 11 or 12 asked me about the brand of potato chips I was eating. He then told me the merits of certain chips in terms of texture and flavor over others. Smart kid. Then the train came and he got into a different car. No parents as kids travel to and from school by themselves on the subway.

  2. You are a wretched thing! I wretch too in those moments. Damn introvertedness making us wretchers.

    …oh wait. That’s retch. Damn reliance on spelling technology. Carry on. You’re normal. Retch away fellow INTJ.

  3. Marie Silver, I completely understand. I agree with you. I work as a museum security guard and back when I worked the day shift I always wondered about parents who would let the children roam around unescorted in the galleries. I’ve rescued many lost and crying kids in the 8 years I worked days. Lost children were nearly an every day occurence. Since it is a large public museum you don’t really know the people who come in there and parents need to keep an eye on their children and/or hold their hands. I’ve even seen women who park the baby carriage/stroller in one gallery then go off to another gallery. Guards are not babysitters and when I speak with the parents usually the mother she gets angry with me. By law museum guards are not allowed to watch the visitors kids. When my niece was little I used to take her to the museum for school projects and later because she love the art exhibits and I never let that little girl out of my sight. Now she is a grown woman. Anyway I do wish people would pay more attention to their children when in public spaces.

    1. When I was in high school I worked at a fast food restaurant. One day we watched this woman pull up in front of the restaurant and let her two kids – 6 or 7 years old – out and drive off. We kept and eye on them but when momma returned, the store manager told her that we were not a babysitting service and if she pulled a stunt like that again the police would be called. There’s no such thing as a perfect parent but some people make me wonder.

      However, in the situation I described in my blog, I think the girl was within a reasonable age to be by herself in the park – especially since she most likely lived in one of the surrounding residences.

  4. I had this same experience today. We had taken our kids to a bounce house for the afternoon and I was sitting with my daughter in the toddler area. This 3/4 year old girl came up to me and asked if she could play. Asked me! Did I look like someone who likes to talk to people? I don’t think so. I tried to get my daughter to engage with her, but she was happily doing her “independent” play (making me a large meal out of plastic goodies covered with germs) and never did talk directly to the girl. That left me having to say that she could play with my daughter. However, they still didn’t speak to each other and that left me listening to her ramble on about something. I don’t even know what she was saying at this point. Yes, I’m an introvert and proud of it!

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