It's a gorgeous day, no snow - sitting in my chair - the chair that everyone tries to get from me in the living room, the one with the cushy blanket on it, the homemade quilt from my mother to cuddle in, the footstool at the end, you know the one, everyone had one - and watching the dog walkers go by. I like dogs but I have a cat. He's sleeping in a shoe box my son gave him by the favorite chair right now. He follows me around the house whenever I get up go anywhere. That's new, don't quite understand it but there it is. He reminds me of a dog sometimes. I call him puppy cat, but that's not his name. Thing is, with the right tone he'll come to anything I call him most times.
Last night I went out for one last gift. Traffic was crazy, people were crazy, almost everyone I came in contact with had a snarl on their face. Except for those people in the liquor store. That's telling me something, huh? Yeah, I agree. Anyway, I made an effort to smile at people that were cranky looking, I helped anyone who looked like they were trying to reach something beyond their reach, I didn't make annoying noises or comments when the people in front of me weren't moving their carts out of the way and left them in the middle of the isle while they browsed things somewhere else, I didn't even lose it when the cahier banged all my things in my bag with the force of a really mad woman.
Instead I used a polite voice to ask the people to move, they apologized right away and giggled at getting so lost in the selection of Legos they were engulfed in, we chatted about kids and toys and how eventually they'd be into electronics and big ticket items. I was thanked for getting those higher up items off the shelf for a couple of older gentlemen, and I asked the cashier if she was going home soon and got the whole story about her sick mother and her lazy no good for nothing sister and I just listened and made some comments and told her I understood and hoped she have some time off soon and get to visit with her mother. And she stopped slamming my stuff in the bag. And she smiled at the next customers who smiled back and maybe they all experienced a happy and joyful capitalistic transaction. I dunno.
What I do know is that it does make me feel better to be nicer. It makes me feel good inside if I smile and tell people I understand, if I help others, if I let that guy pass me that seems to really need to get there even though we find we arrive at the same grocery store minutes later at the same time. Whatever. What harm does it do? None. If I get cranky at all these situations I find that I'm going around with a cloud of crap over my head and that makes me feel icky.
So while you're out there with your last minute shopping - and you husbands and boyfriends know just who I'm talking about - smile at the other guys you see, help a little old man reach for that nice smelly bath stuff his wife likes that's on the top shelf - don't envision your cart as one covered in decals and revved up for the demolition derby in the store - and let some other guy, that guy who's on your tail the whole way up the highway, pass you and think he's ahead in some way. Just let it go. Get home, wrap your gifts, clean up the dishes and the mess the next day.
Be like your dear Uncle John who lets one rip wherever he goes and pretends he didn't notice - just let it all pass. And leave the room till the stink clears. Happy happy boys and goils!