Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Little Laugh in the Express Lane

Yesterday I was at the grocery store with my three youngest kids. The cashier seemed to be in a bit of a snippy mood. I was a little nervous because I was pushing the "20 item limit" in the express lane and the man behind me was waiting to just buy two gallons of milk. I only glanced at him quickly. He looked a bit rough around the edges -- kind of like a less fortunate Willie Nelson -- older, thin, long gray hair, etc.

After the obligatory, "Did you find everything you needed?" from the cashier, we all went about our business. The man behind me leaning over his cart waiting his turn. The cashier ringing up and bagging my stuff. Me sliding my debit card and sticking finished bags around kids in my cart.

On a sudden good will impulse, the cashier asked, somewhat halfheartedly, if my kids wanted a sticker.

"Oh," I assured her, "I'm sure these girls would love a sticker."

She gave one from a long roll to Goldie and Penny. While I told them to thank her, she motioned to Jesse and asked, "Does he need one?"

"Oh," I smiled, "No thanks. He'd probably just eat it."

There wasn't anything too hilarious about that, but for some reason it made her laugh. Suddenly the wrinkled and long gray haired man behind me was chuckling too.

"I suppose it wouldn't kill him if he did eat it," I offered.

The cashier laughed, "Maybe there's a little protein in them, hm?"

The man behind me seemed to be quite brightened at the thought of my trouble making little boy eating his sticker and was now chuckling even more fully with us. "Eat the sticker," he mumbled, shaking his head, "Boys will be boys, eh?"

I laughed again with them; took my receipt, and that was that.

It was such a little thing. But it made me happy to have shared that small moment of laughter with those two strangers. It made me think about us as people. We pass each other all day and seldom make even the tiniest connection or acknowledgement. That was such a little thing at the store. It was only two minutes, but for those two minutes, we weren't just oblivious strangers. I liked that even though the three of us appeared to have absolutely nothing at all in common -- age, lifestyles, appearance, etc. -- for a minute we all made a little connection. I can't really explain it. I just like anything that makes me stop and see those around me as real individuals rather than just, "the rough looking guy behind me" or "the snippy cashier."

6 comments:

Krista said...

That was a great comeback - way to go! When my son was about two he had his chest x-rayed for asthma and they gave him a couple of stickers. They fit very nicely over his nipples. Yeah, I'm sure Jesse would have just pooped the sticker out - maybe recycled it?

Screwed Up Texan said...

A less fortunate (looking) Willie Nelson...is that possible?

Perla said...

that's awesome. every once in awhile i'll have things like that happen, too, that make me stop and feel a connection to people and it feels really cool. i like that story.

Tia Juana said...

I too have had things like this happen in the grocery store - moments of compassion or a connection or understanding for another. And strangely it happens in the library a lot too - all those bookworms checking out too many books and too few arms to carry them.

I bet you made Willie's day.

Amber said...

I do love those moments, and I agree with the (less fortunate) Willie nelson comment,haha! My great grandma's name was Millie and I always thought it would be a cute name for one of my girls, but I could never do it because Millie Wilson always sounded way too much like Willie Nelson to me. "Um..What?..What did you say your daughters name was?...Willie Nelson??? hmmm.

Nancy said...

Oh I have laughed out loud at the "how could someone look less fortunate" than Willie Nelson? comments. Yes, that is a good point. I think what I meant was that he was looked like Willie only not blessed with Willie's fame and money. But I am still giggling.

Yes, Amber it is sadly probably best that you steer your girls names clear of anything resembling WIllie Nelson. :)

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