I had to run to the grocery store last minute to pick up diapers before everything shut down for the Christmas holiday. I was definitely in a rush. I had 3 other stops to make before I had to run home and get ready for a family and friend get-together.
I hurried over to the express lane, and I lined up behind a older gentleman, probably in his 70's, who was unloading his cart. I'm staring at his cart. It has three large Haagen Daz ice cream containers and I'm thinking to myself, mmm, ice cream sounds good and I'm startled by his voice.
"Please, go ahead of me."
Before I had a chance to think about what prompted him to say, go ahead, he started to explain.
"I know I shouldn't be in this line. I have 12 items in my cart."
I started laughing, realizing that he must have thought I was looking at the Haagen Daz ice cream and thinking, 'why is he in the 10 items or fewer line??'
I answered, "Did you think i was looking at your items disapprovingly?"
He said,"Yes, please go ahead of me. I know I have too many items in my cart."
I replied, "I was only thinking about how good that ice cream is going to taste!"
He sort of chuckled and said, "This time of year is so stressful. People in the house, places to go."
I wondered how he made the leap from chatting about the items in his cart to revealing his true feelings how much anxiety he felt about this time of year. After we exchanged some understandings about how stressful holidays can be, he looked visibly calmer. I even saw the makings of a smile.
I haven't had an exchange like that in a long time. I'm usually running around, with my head down, thinking of the next thing I have to do just to go to the next meal that needs to be cooked to the next bed that needs to be tucked to the next business meeting that needs to be prepared for. It was so nice to just chat in the grocery line. That's what I love about the holidays.