Wednesday, December 15, 2010

people like me

i love when i get to meet someone who is wired the same way that i am.  We're almost drawn to one another, like magnets.  We interact.  Our eyes meet.  We grin:
You love to talk?
You love strangers?
You believe in the greater good?
You don't believe in coincidences either do you?
We were meant to meet each other weren't we? 
We relish in it. Sometimes we embrace like old friends. One of us may even get a tear in our eye because we know that we're about to hear something from the Man Upstairs. We sit down, we settle in for a long talk, we brush off surface level talk.  i am still mulling over a lunch-date with a complete stranger from last week; planning to write about it tomorrow here on the old notebook.  Talking with strangers is a gift, one that i do not take lightly.

These interactions aren't intimidating.  Although, most people might say that rehashing a divorce, or unloading your childhood phobias with a stranger would be, they aren't.  Well, at least, not for people like me.

We understand that there is something greater at work in our exchange of words.  We recognize the need to share our human experiences with each other so that we can learn and grow and help one another.

At one of my favorite coffeeshops in town, the credit/debit minimum purchase is $4; the man behind the counter, Mark, tells me this when i whip out my debit card to pay.  i decide to tip $2 on a $2 coffee so that i can meet the minimum AND make Mark's day a little brighter.

Mark, who is a person like me, says "You didn't have to do that", and i say "i didn't have to, but i wanted to".  He grins, smiles and then says "Well, I wasn't implying that you should tip in order to make up the difference."  i shrug and laugh at him, assuring him "But i wanted to.  Thanks for the coffee, i need it today."  He's already reaching for something, i'm not sure what.  He says, "If you insist to overtip, then i insist that you eat this double-chocolate muffin cap because it's become separated from its bottom.  And don't mind the powdered sugar on it, it just makes it sweeter."

Nope, the powdered sugar isn't what made me smile to myself as i sat down to write, it was this whole interaction.  The banter like we were old friends, insisting on one-upping each other with kindness.

the spoils of conversation

It's the same feeling that i get when i push a shopping cart back to the store for a woman with children.  i don't even need a shopping cart, but it helps her not to have to decide between leaving the kids unattended in the car and holding their hands in the parking lot.  Or carrying groceries for older ladies.  Maybe the women of previous generations weren't as helpful, or maybe they are counting on non-existent Boy Scouts to come and escort them.  But there i am, a 20-something blonde woman asking if i can walk them to their cars: "Yes, why that is awful sweet of you."  "It's the least i can do. Have a super night!"

Or when i call the cashier in Target by her name, Pearl, because it is a lovely name and i wanted to address her as a real person.  Pearl gasps, grins: "Do I know you?"  "Nope.  But you have a lovely name."  She is blushing, and i go on to ask her why her parents picked it.  "I was named after my grandmother."  Delightful.  So much more than a grocery bagger or coupon scanner, you cannot replace Pearl with a machine.  "Thank you Pearl, have a wonderful day."

She waves Goodbye to me as i leave.  i look around.  None of the other cashiers wave at their customers.

i like knowing that the world is feeling like a much smaller place because i'm starting to get to know the people in it.

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