You’ve heard the tagline for a certain grocery store in Florida ….”where shopping is a pleasure”.
Even as you’re reading this, I see you nodding your head in agreement and in your minds eye you can see the name of the shop… am I right?
In the middle, or towards the end, of a pandemic (depending on your political, cultural or scientific opinion) there are birthdays, graduations, weddings and other celebrations that are going uncelebrated. There are funerals going unattended by those wishing to pay respects and honor their dead.
There are all sorts of things that have changed in the last couple of months, things that I would never have imagined would be the way they are.
‘Tis strange times indeed.
So this week I will celebrate a birthday… a bit of a milestone one. (Can you say “a bit” of a milestone, when saying milestone?) And the celebration that was planned…well…’tis not to be. I’m rather sad about that. Sad that there will be no family or friends, just me and Thom and my lovely dog (Thom’s lovely too).
But when one reaches a certain age where one uses the word “milestone” or even “bit of” a milestone, it’s time to choose gratitude over pity party, because there are others who didn’t get to celebrate their milestone birthdays, (or their “bit” of a milestone birthdays). Their lives were cut short.
So as I was standing in the queue in a shop where Shopping is A Pleasure, I was thinking about a friend who died unexpectedly this week, a friend who was younger than me. I was wondering if there would be a funeral, or who would be allowed to attend if only 10 people are allowed in the church.
The sales associate, from behind her social distancing plexiglass, asked “when is your birthday?” I answered her, without thinking, lost in thought as I was. She said “what year?’ and I was jolted from my thoughts. “Do we share a birthday?” I asked. “Could we be separated-at-birth twins?”
Nowadays, it’s so common for sales people to ask for zipcodes, emails, middle name of firstborn children and so on that we give out personal information without a thought. I’ve become a bit more judicious about personal information- – sharing in this Age of Hacking.
“No”, she answered. “What year were you born?”
“Why do you need to know that?” I asked, feeling irritation at this NOYB probing.
She pointed to my bottle of wine lying on the conveyor belt (so I drink wine, no judgement please!). I stopped dwelling on my recently-deceased friend, and paid full attention to the human standing in front of me, just trying to do her job and help me get back to the sanctity of my sterilized home.
I realized she was carding me.
I was, to put it bluntly, incredulous. “You’re carding me? Do I honestly look like I’m under 40?” I asked.
“The law is 21, Ma’am”, she said with all seriousness. Upon which, I leaned my head back and laughed out loud, I even clapped my hands together in glee.
I’m about to celebrate a bit of a milestone birthday and she thought I might not be 21. Admit it, you’re laughing out loud right now.
Her name is Roz. That’s not her in the photo. She lifted me out of my little funk and I no longer dwelled on a funeral, or an uncelebrated birthday. She must have enjoyed my raucous laughter, because she joined in (the bagging associate too!) and repeated her question “what year?”.
I told her, and then the three of us laughed some more. What a lovely moment of joy it was for 3 complete strangers.
Joy, so elusive in these days of stress, financial worries, health worries and more, amidst pandemic.
As a final thought to those who think they need to invest in some Mary Kay skincare (love it, I sell it too!) I must tell you – had I been wearing my spectacles rather than my contact lenses, and shown her my full face rather than my eyes peeking above my red bandana niqab, also known as a homemade mask, she likely wouldn’t have felt it necessary to ask the question.
Roz made my day and changed my mindset. Go to the place where Shopping is a Pleasure, you may come out with more than food and wine.
Thanks Roz. Happy birthday to me. Rest in Peace, sweet Carol.
#Appreciateyourlife #Bringjoytosomeone #Tallahasseebedandbreakfast @LittleEnglishGuesthouse