I went to the other day. After gathering my groceries, I asked the man in the checkout lane if he could retrieve the balance on my gift card first, and he said with a slight short temper, "Look, honey, I can’t check that until after I ring your groceries. Sorry."
Yeah. You sound real sorry to me.
I must have shown my annoyance in my face, because he proceeded to make jokes and friendly conversation. I was upset, though. I felt like I was back in a big city with people who don’t know how to treat other people like anything besides an unwelcome shirt stain.
When I retreated to the parking lot, I choked on the exhaust of an idling SUV, sitting on top of the diagonal lines for a handicapped space. Really, I thought, you are not the person that those extra few feet are for! I got even more annoyed when another car attempted to pull in next to that SUV. The driver must not have fully grasped the concept of parking spaces, because he was taking up two spaces guilt free.
I was so annoyed. I felt like I was back in Orlando.
Then, an elderly man got out of the car. He took his time, and the lady in the SUV got out of her car to help him cross over the ice. I stopped in the middle of the street, and watched the pair of them. I am such an idiot.
Then a man tapped me on the shoulder. "Are you OK, miss?"
"Oh, yeah, sorry. I’m fine. Just got caught up in my thoughts."
"Well, sweetheart, you’re standing in the middle of the road. There’s a car that’s waiting to pass. You need some help?"
There was a car behind me. Not honking its horn. Not yelling obscenities. Just patiently waiting for me to regain myself and realizing I was holding up traffic. "No. Thank you, though."
I went to my car. What was I thinking? How could I have been so ignorant? I’m not in the big city anymore. This place is not like the one I grew accustomed to. It’s friendly and welcoming.
You see, I sometimes have what I like to call "city thoughts." Those times where I think, "Move it," "That’s what the sign says" or "Did you really just do that?"
This city that we live in, though, is not that kind of city. Here, we help our neighbors cross the ice. Here, we wait for friends to keep walking. Here, we ask strangers if they’re OK, if they need assistance, and we offer our help at all times.
As I was walking to the car, the cashier from the checkout came out in his coat to gather grocery carts. He stopped me before I got in my car to tell me he was sorry for his tone of voice.
I said I hadn’t noticed, I was just tired, but thank you anyway.