birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Minding My Own Business

I cannot mind my own business. I break this rule a hundred times a day asking people how they are when they have been absent from work. What happened in that phone call? Are you tired of that job? Things that people may not necessarily want to talk about and my radar leads me there before anywhere else. We used to have a Siamese cat named Medusa because she had worms when she was born. She always headed straight for the lap of the people that hated cats. That is what I do. Ask the one question that doesn’t need to be asked. 

The only time that I became hesitant to mind someone else’s business was when my children became teenagers. I did not ask them much of anything. My husband's rule of thumb was to never ask a question that you didn’t already know the answer. That particular rule did not work with teenagers. You could close your eyes and swear that you were either talking to a cobra, a gerbil or a piece of wood and none of these things has a good thing to tell you, trust me.

I have begun to get better about asking questions but I am not yet to the point that I stop myself before the question is asked. I am more likely to ask it and then realize either mid conversation that I have been nosy or later on when musing about the conversation. I have learned to say “ you don’t’ have to answer that question” or “thank you for not telling me to mind my own business." 

Otherwise I follow every other rule I am told. I park where I am directed, I do not ever walk on the grass and I pay my parking tickets. I am a nerd and I am told this regularly by my family. I guess I keep minding other people’s business because my life is a little too quiet. But then I am better at keeping my own stories to myself. 

Summer Evenings

Japanese Rules