I am friendly at the front desk of my library. I know a lot of library patrons. Sometimes we chat. It is all very light, in its way.
For example today there was Ted, out at the front desk. I haven't seen him for awhile. "Hey Ted." I say. "I haven't seen you for a couple of weeks. How're you doing?"
"I just found out I have cancer." Ted replies matter of factly.
"Oh, Ted. I'm so sorry."
"Yeah." Ted says. "It's probably terminal."
"I'm so sorry." I respond again.
Then he wants to tell me about some guy who worked with the CIA in Nicaragua in the eighties.
So I let him.