Simple exchanges can mean a lot

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The guy in front of me is paying for the items in his cart. I hear the cashier tell him the total is $92.

“Almost got it to 100,” he says and laughs.

“I thought it was rule you couldn’t get out of here unless you spent at least 100 dollars,” I say, laughing as well.

“Yeah, I think you are right about that one,” he says, pulling money out of his wallet.

“I know you have to spend at least 50 dollars,” I say. “Funny thing is I come in for just one or two things and end up with a full buggy.”

We both laugh as the cashier chimes in with, “I do the same thing all the time.”

He grabs his bag as I start putting my items on the belt.

“You have a good one now, “he says.

“You too,“ I answer.

As I pull out the bag I always bring in to use for shopping, I get the question I always get.

“You want all your cold stuff in this bag?” says the young woman behind the cash register.

“Yes, that will be great,” I say. “I’ve got more bags for the other stuff.”

As she rings up my eggs, orange juice, yogurt and strawberries, I notice that she is pretty, especially her long sun-streaked hair. I wonder if she knows she’s attractive.

“Does your hair do like that on its own or do you have to do something special?” I ask, looking at the lovely way it falls in waves over her shoulders.

“No, today I just let it dry,” she says. “I did put a little hairspray on it.”

Then she tells me about a special shampoo you can buy that helps hair curl. She says she uses it sometimes. I tell her I’d like to give it a try.

We talk for a few more minutes as she finishes checking me out. I pay for my three bags full and we wish each other a good day.

As I head toward my car, I stop to speak to the greeter at the door. We comment on how hot it is and how we wish the rain would finally take a break. He says he hopes I enjoy the July 4th holiday.

Driving home with the air conditioner blasting in my face, I think about the simple exchanges I had with people while I was out on my shopping excursion. Such a small thing to stop and share a few words with another person.

It doesn’t take much time to notice someone has nice hair, to laugh with another shopper about shopping habits or wish the kind man who greets me a nice holiday. I think these small things are what really makes our lives good, the little moments of connection that pass almost unnoticed by most of us.

I know these were not profound conversations. No earthshaking topic came up and there was no mention of anything the least bit controversial.

Still, I think, it is with these brief interactions that we strengthen our feelings of connection to each other. Sadly, in our social media/cell phone world, we are too often too distracted to “see” the person standing right in front of us.

I’m not bashing technology. Heck, I like technology, but I think sometimes we need a little bit of the old way of connecting to keep us grounded.

I may never see the guy who spent $92 and shared a laugh with me. The girl with the great hair might not be at the checkout I choose ever again, and who knows if the greeter will be greeting when the next holiday rolls around.

Nope, I might not see them again, but sitting here right now, I smile thinking about how nice it was to share a moment with each of them. Life is made of special moments like these. I hope I remember to notice and to take advantage of every opportunity to experience them.



Nancy Blackmon is a former newspaper editor and a yoga teacher.