nosy or interested?

They say that two positive qualities a person can have are being interesting and interested. Being interested is wide ranging and stems from a healthy capacity of curiosity.  Being interested leads to learning, growing, advancing, evolving. The same can’t be said for being nosy. 

When the weather is nice, on alternate days I force myself out of bed for a routine of calisthenics in a park near where I’m living. Even though I look for the most secluded spot, inevitably there are folk who end up staring at me like a performance is taking place, at least until boredom sets in. A couple of times though, I’ve seen some of my exercises repeated by others. Interest was generated by seeing someone doing something they hadn’t seen before, which might have physical benefits to themselves.  In fact, several of the exercises I do I’ve learned by watching others, out of the same type interest.  All of us have interest in what our fellow humans do in almost all aspects of life, mostly because those thoughts positively stimulate us.

So when does interest cross the line into nosiness?  A couple of recent examples by flagrant busybodies come to mind.

When I’m in the local supermarket checkout line, it’s not uncommon for the help to pick up items that I’m purchasing and talk and laugh.  I don’t understand what they are saying, but it certainly is a strange phenomenon having the store help fondle the fruit and vegetables and the other products I’m about to purchase at the checkout register, while having an open discussion  about what I’m buying.  While curiosity may have provoked them, their rude actions doesn’t fall in the interested category.

Last week, while walking near my apartment, I stopped at a store and bought a bottle or red wine to keep at home.  They gave me a plastic bag to carry the wine home,  but the bag was clear so anyone could see what I was carrying. Between the wine store and my home I stopped in a restaurant to order a take-home dinner.  The place was relatively busy, still, heads turned when I walked in. One table in particular seemed to be interested in the contents of my bag. While I was paying for my evening meal, one of the workers eyeing my bag saw the receipt and, without asking, reached in and grabbed the receipt, read it, then yelled across to the interested table hollering to them, and the rest of the restaurant, what I paid for the wine.  In a few seconds, the entire restaurant knew what I paid for the wine. They may have been interested, but at no positive gain for their own lives.  Interested not. Just plain nosy.

Don’t be nosy.  Be interested.