Thursday, March 12, 2015

People Watching and Story Creating

Have you ever had a conversation with people and you're trying to describe someone to them?

There are certain people that you can describe in a couple words, "Ya, her, with the loud laugh," or No, him the tall, big guy.

Then there are those that are described in with unique characteristics, "You know the lanky guy with the buck teeth?" or "No, the girl with the long blonde hair who always wears the huge earnings and high heels all the time?"

My favorites are usually those that are described by a certain incident or talent, "Remember, her? She's the one that slipped not the Jell-O on her way to the cafeteria," or "No, no, the guy who can bleach the alphabet in Spanish!"

I wonder how people describe me when they are trying to point me out to people who don't know me well. My guess is that it is something along the lines, "You know the tall, loud one," or "The brunette with the loud laugh who is always talking," or "No, the lady who has 3 kids with Fragile X Syndrome and she never stops talking about them."

I wonder.

I thought about this as I was walking into Smith's today for a quick shopping trip before Baby got home from school.

Well, not exactly this, per sé, but it started with a young woman walking out with one grocery bag in her hand who looked tired, wearing scrubs and a limply-fitting jacket. I found myself thinking, "I wonder what her story is? Did she just get off a night/early morning shift at the hospital? Is she trying to get home to her kids before she has to get back out on the next shift? Is that lunch she has in that bag..."

Then I see a pregnant woman walking into the store and I find myself wondering if this is her first child, or her last. I observe that her clothes are well-kept but her hair is disheveled and she is holding her stomach with her keyless hand, "Is she coming into get something for her morning sickness? Is that why her hair is amiss, because she's had to hold it back as she bends forward over the toilet?"

As I walk in the doors I see a young man talking to two adoring elderly ladies. At first I wonder if he knows them and then I notice the handle of a baby car seat peeking over the top of the grocery cart. They were admiring his baby. The father (I assume) was smiling so proudly and started to cover the baby with a blanket as he wheeled the cart away.

The same two elderly women acknowledged me as we both needed carts at the same time. I chuckled as one older lady rolled the cart with gusto and pizzazz to her friend and her friend answered back with a little tap dance-type bow and they both giggled. I was coming up behind them as they were sharing laughs and I wasn't able to pass. The woman facing me signaled her friend to. "Move out of the way or you might end up with a cart stuck to your bum." The three of us chuckled.

In fact, I kept chuckling for a good minute or too thinking that's how my sister's and I will be when we are old.

While I was smiling to myself a grumpy looking person, frankly, I don't even remember if the person was male or female, I just remember recognizing that they didn't seem to enjoy my happiness particularly. So I gave one last little chuckle and then deliberately smiled at this person as I walked by. I don't know the reaction because I had passed before any reaction could have been perceived but I thought to myself that maybe this person just doesn't see happiness often and wasn't sure what to think of it coming from a random stranger walking into the store. Maybe this person even thought I was laughing AT them. Then I went into deep thought wondering if this person had had a hard life and just wasn't one to look at the bright side of life.

I kept looking at all the people I passed in the store wondering what their story was.

Soon I began making up stories for people just to add spice to my short shopping trip.

Then I came to the check out stand. The checker was very friendly and very good to engage with me and make sure he had all my stuff. To my left, though, was the bagger. I hadn't taken a good look at her yet, but out of the corner of my eye I could tell it was a girl with long brown hair.

That was all that I knew about her at that moment.

But, then, out of the corner of my eye I had also noticed that she had put the potato chips first and was about to put my 10 yogurt cups and 3 pounds of cheese on top of them before I paused to help her load the cart. I could hear the employees nearby talking and I just assumed that my bagger was one of those because who would put all that stuff on top of potato chips?

After I paid I finally looked up and realized that even when I said, "thanks" to her she did not make eye contact with me. I immediately recognized that she had some special needs and her tag said her name and "in training" underneath. She said, "welcome" in a bit of a slurred speech as I was walking away with my cart.

I found myself thinking of her parents and all that they had done to get her a job here and how much they have gone through to assure her the best life possible. I wondered if Brother would be able to do a job similar with this by the time he is 21.

I am so thankful that I was not quick to judge and was allowing myself to realize all the people around me and wondering their stories—thinking the best of them and wanting to be positive. I would want people to afford my children the same courtesy one day when they might be the bagger that is about to smash all the chips with one fell swoop of yogurt.

After all that thought-provoking information I will tell you my UP of the day:

Brother had a choir concert tonight and he made me smile from ear to ear. I am so proud of him!

Day 70 of 365 Days of Up

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