That part of her doesn't even bug me. We'd never be friends if not for our mutual lunch buddy, and I don't really miss her on the days she's required elsewhere during our lunch, but it's not like I see her and cringe or anything. What does bug me is that she's a huge gossiper. She's not just any sort of gossiper, though. She doesn't talk about who's sleeping around with whom, who got caught in the liquor store, or who's getting a divorce. She doesn't have enough of a mean spirit for that. No, she's a Christian gossiper. I don't know how many of my readers are familiar with this type of person, but being from where I'm from, you get a lot of these. Everything they talk about is who's getting married, who's sick, and who has died. Everything is positive and you can't really criticize them for their topics of conversation, but I still do. The thing is that I've never really been a part of the local culture here. Beyond my family members and a cluster of people about my age I went to high school with, I don't know most of the people who live here. I went to a very small church as a kid and half of the congregation came from other counties where there was no church of our denomination. My mom is about as social as I am, so her circle extended no further than family and teachers in the school. She's a good teacher and cares about her students, but her interest in them really doesn't extend beyond the classroom. My dad is a much more social creature, but he always expressed that part of himself during his work day.
This makes these Christian gossipers entirely alien to me. I don't give a rat's ass about people I don't know personally beyond my basic regard for human life. It takes too much energy to sincerely care about every sick or dead person, so I save my true concern for people I have an emotional stake in and refrain from even feigning interest in the rest. The type of person the Christian gossiper tends to be is one who does seem to know everyone and even though they probably don't feel strongly about some of these people, they do get a sense of satisfaction, or at least entertainment, from knowing this stuff about other people and feeling some emotion about it. I prefer to get my artificial sentiment and emotion from foul humor, movies, and books, but some people prefer reality, I guess.
So, unless someone makes the mistake of starting me off on some topic I'm too passionate to shut up about (I typically never bring these topics up, but woe be to the conversation partner who dares to) I get to listen about all these people I don't know and all of their prayer needs, or who's getting married, or who's getting a new job. I DON'T CARE!
What's worse is that these people tend to be drawn to one another and they create this little microcosm where everyone knows everyone else and likes talking about everyone else in a non-malicious way. They're so used to talking to people who share their vast social knowledge and interest that it seems to baffle them when they come across someone, especially a fellow native, who has no clue who any of their topics of conversation are.
Of course, if I were to ever have my house burn down or contract terminal cancer, I'd hope that she or someone like her was one of the first people to find out. Places like this are good about taking care of their own, but word of mouth is needed to make sure those able to help know about the problem. If people like me were the only people to find out about your sudden and unearned destitution, you'd pretty much be screwed.