Mind Your Own Business

Do you remember Gladys Kravitz—the nosey neighbor who lived next door to Samantha and Darrin Stephens—on the television show Bewitched? She was always curious about what other people were up to:

Samantha Stephens: Oh, hi, Mrs. Kravitz. What a surprise (not!).
Gladys Kravitz: I came over for a snoop of, uh, a scoop of sugar. I hope I’m not disturbing you.

Our dog Willa—aka Mrs. Kravitz—is a snoop in the first degree. When our neighbors are in their back yard, she peeks through the fence!

Willa would do well to heed Hank Williams’ song, Mind Your Own Business!

I have more than a dash and a dollop of curiosity. When I was a young girl, my hero was Harriet the Spy.

Have you ever stuck your nose where it didn’t belong?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
— Laurie Buchanan

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© 2012 Laurie Buchanan– All Rights Reserved

65 thoughts on “Mind Your Own Business

  1. LOL! I have and more and more I try not to. Unless invited into situation by conversation or asking for assistance I seek to move away.

    Yet investigation, as in research, and study is fun and informative !

    • Jeff – I’m sure glad for your early-morning visit today, thank you. I agree wholeheartedly about research and investigation. Just yesterday I spent 30-minutes researching “humus” (not what you dip pita chips in, but a type of rich soil)…

  2. Hi Laurie,
    It’s a wonder I’m this age and still HAVE a nose! It is now in Protective Custody as I go forth into the world totallying minding my own self – it’s job enough! haha! 🙂

  3. You bet I have and had enough of my nose taken off to cure me of that nasty habit! I will ask only socially correct questions unless I am also privy to other aspects of this persons life. When I have been asked intrusive questions by those who seem to have no sense of propriety, I simply gaze at them thoughtfully and answer, ” Gee, I don’t know. No one has ever been rude enough to ask me that before.” Shortens that conversation by a mile.

  4. I agree with your premise Laurie that there are boundaries between being curious and as Jeff points out and as Willa demonstrates “putting our nose where it is not invited or where it is an intrusion.” Yet, curiousity is at the root of creativity. If we don’t assume “we know” and then ask and explore new possibilities … wow the world opens up!
    Once again … seems to be about finding the balance right?

  5. In my youth my nose found its way into many places it didn’t belong. It has been nipped enough times that it has learned – mostly – to stay home and mind its own business. My mouth is still learning.

    • Carol – As an avid follower of your wonderful blog, I have a hard time imagining that your “mouth is still learning.” Your posts are always positive, uplifting, constructive, and healing. But like you, when I was a youngster, my nose got lodged into several places that it didn’t belong 🙂

  6. Lol – Love the post and the image of Willa is so classic. I wonder what she was seeing? I must confess that I have and have learnt the hard way not too. That doesn’t stop me from wondering, and wondering, and wondering, wishing I could just take a peek.

  7. Hi Laurie,

    Love the pic of Willa, reminds me a certain young Huia in this household.

    I’m of the incurably curious persuasion, and if people are straight enough with me, I will usually bug out and be curious somewhere else, and sometimes I am so engaged in something that I don’t get hints.

    Sometimes it takes a very direct “Ted – this is none of your business, your assistance is not required, please go and do something else!” to get me to move, and sometimes, even that is not enough, because sometimes what I am looking at in the situation is something that no one else is looking at, which can, in some circumstances, make it very definitely my business, even if I acknowledge that within their terms of reference, it is not.

    Once one starts operating in infinitely dimensional possibility space, then things are rarely as simple as many would like them to be.

    I tend not to be too concerned about cultural or legal constraints – I certainly acknowledge their existence, and I do not accept them as any sort of limit – they are simply an aspect of consequence; subsets of a much greater system.

    • Ted – I’m cracking up at the “none of your business” quote you wrote, picturing that maybe it was Ailsa who said it.

      I admire that when you see something about a situation that no one else is seeing, you have the tenacity to buck the constraints and stick with — knowing full well that from their point of view it may not be your business. That takes a lot of courage.

  8. Not so much my nose where it doesn’t belong Laurie – but my ear. I have an absolute fascination with eavesdropping on public conversations in restaurants, stores, the post office, ferry line up and so on. I have the good sense to mostly be discrete and seldom offer a comment or clarification unless an obvious and welcomed opportunity presents itself. I have decidedly concluded that it is simply the sociologist in me – which was my major area of study as an undergraduate. That is my story and I am sticking to it!

    • Hi Terrill,
      I used to use the “do psychology as an undergrad” excuse.
      I would often sit in public places and see how many conversations I could monitor simultaneously without letting any one take precedence over the others. I think 12 was as high as I ever got, though 8 was the normal operational limit. But once in that state it was hard for anyone to get me out of it without physically shaking me.

      • I can imagine it would be Ted 🙂 I think the worst part of listening is how I do it absentmindedly and then do things like turn to my sweetie later and say “I wonder whatever happened in the case of….” to which he has no idea of what I am referring because HE wasn’t eavesdropping.

  9. What a cute dog! I try to fly under the radar and and I also aspire to respect others’ privacy. If they want to tell me their dirty laundry….I’ll listen. Like many shared previously, I learned this skill through the school of hard knocks.

  10. My nose somehow has grown in size with age so, if it goes where it shouldn’t, it sticks out, and usually gets closed in a door, and I get caught. In turn, I have learned not to put my nose where it doesn’t belong. Forgot the other part. I grew up, and enhanced my ethics as well.

    • Dave – In my perspective the combination of “I have learned not to put my nose where it doesn’t belong,” and “I grew up, and enhanced my ethics as well,” are tremendously positive ingredients that make for a joy-filled life.

  11. I think it is in our DNA to be inquisitive. If our ancestors hadn’t wondered “why has that big cat got sharp teeth?” then none of us would be here today

  12. One of my jobs as a mediator is to teach folks how to have a productive conflict…which means being honest about the emotions and old stories involved in the moment’s difficulties. I often poke those emotions with a stick and I can tell you no one likes a stick up the nose….and then to say it brings relief when the emotion is revealed – a sign of relief and sometimes tears or laughter, but there is usually no resolution if the conflict is about an old story is being applied to a present situation.

    In the movie theater, a rare treat in my life, if someone is having a huge conversation near me that is interfering with my experience I have been known to join the conversation. I recently turned around as a couple of women were nailing a “friend” to the wall, and I said,” Yes she does deserve all that criticism and should be put in jail for her actions and feelings – I don’t even know her and yet she doesn’t stand a chance with her friends so I better just jump in and join in the lynching” They moved seats – thank goodness…

    I am the neighborhood watch person and that is a very nice way to be a busy body! They all tell me when they are traveling and whether the paper is on hold and mail…. and who has the key or the dog….then I get to hear how it went when they return. I also get the sad news, like someone damaged their parked car….but it is still news 🙂

    • Patricia – Oh my gosh, the story you shared about the movie theater conversation made me laugh! We don’t have a neighborhood watch program, but by golly, that sounds like a position I’d raise my hand for 🙂

      • I often embarrass the person I am with – when I do this….and I am trying to figure out a way to join in on cellphone conversations at restaurants and malls…Now I don’t mind a parent talking to a needing child on the cellphone in the grocery store, but when out for my anniversary dinner the table next fellow turned from his table of friends right into our range and proceeded to tell his “girl friend” that she was a selfish bitch and she would just have to wait until he got home. I got right in his face and smiled and said, “She is a human being and if treated like a blessing, you would not be on the phone at my table.”
        He lobed off an expletive at me but returned to his table.

        When I left the restaurant the wait staff gave me a round of applause and our waiter brought 2 glasses of champagne to our room….that was a nice gesture, but I still wonder why some think they are entitled to a private conversation in public places. Most others are embarrassed and plunged into their own feelings they don’t want to have. It can also bring up fear.

  13. I loved Harriett the Spy. I wanted to BE Harriett the Spy. The problem is that (especially as I grow older) the more I find out how weird other people’s lives are, the more normal mine seems and the less I really (really) want to know! I seem to have few illusions left and occasionally I hear something that I simply KNOW I could have lived my entire life totally blissfully happily unaware of. One of these days, Willa is going to come to you and say something like “Golly, but I wish I hadn’t seen that.” But will she stop? Probably not.

    • Barbara – I was Harriet the Spy. In my bicycle basket I carried a little pack with a tablet, pen, flashlight, and a shot glass that I snagged from the kitchen cupboard. I truly believed that I would be able to hear conversations through walls with it. And while that may work for interior walls, I can say with full authority that it doesn’t do squat for exterior walls 🙂

  14. Guess I did….trying to be helpful to a neighbor and received a reply which was like a slap in the face. I still believe she is a good person and a good neighbor. But I won’t offer to be of help again.

  15. It looks like Willa could also be renamed Snoopy! lol

    I fondly remember the ‘Bewitched’ character, Mrs. Kravitz. Sometimes, being snoopy is a good thing. My next door neighbor is very similar to Gladys and I often call her that, jokingly. She does keep a close eye on the neighborhood, though, for which we are all grateful. She helped catch a group of would-be car thieves one night and when a drug-dealer lived across the street, she’d blatantly take down the license plates of his customers, not caring if he saw her or not. She’s not afraid of anything (except maybe a mouse) so I’ve used her as a heroine in a few of my Neighbourhood Chronicles and also a character in my 2 YA novels. 🙂

  16. Laurie, with me it’s probably less of a nose problem than it is of sometimes talking too much, which can often achieve the same undesirable results. Often it’s innocuous enough, and the intent is more for laughter and dramatic effect, but nonetheless it needs to be controlled, or the the old adage ‘a slip of the lip can sink a ship’ could well materialize. Everyone I guess has their own ‘nosy’ moments though, an it certainly didn’t do Willa any real harm. Ha! But I loved Mrs. Kravitz! She was a card.

  17. Pingback: The Tin Drum, Port of Shadows, How To Survive a Plague and John Garfield Petition on Monday Morning Diary (September 24) « Wonders in the Dark

  18. The picture of your pup reminds me of the movie called “Our Idiot Brother.” It’s a cute story (not really a guy movie, more of a chick flick-couldn’t tell that by the name). ANYWAY, the lead character in the story has a Golden Retriever named Willie Nelson. 🙂

  19. Harriet the Spy! I loved her when I was growing up, too. She seemed way cooler than the Sweet Valley Twins and any of the Babysitters’ Club girls, but I guess she also got into more trouble, as well. 🙂 I hope you’re doing well, Laurie.

    • Dana – Another Harriet the Spy fan, whoohoo! I leave tonight (actually 3am tomorrow morning) for San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. I’m speaking at an international gathering and retreat for women. If I have internet access, I hope to post from there this Tuesday morning:)

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