Open to the whole world
Tuesday October 11th 2011, 11:18 pm
Filed under: Life

A quick late run to the store, we’re out of milk.

Got my cart, got the milk, that was it, but then I thought, you know, we *are* low on veggies…

Turned thataway. There–I hadn’t thought of that, but you know, an acorn squash seemed just the thing to celebrate a fine October dinner with and they’re small enough for two. (Even if the outside color still doesn’t make it a green veggie.) Eh, I’m done.

I got in the shortest line, wondering what all these people were doing shopping after 9 pm too.

And of course found out in slow motion why it had been the shortest line. I was standing there five, then ten minutes with the same small group being waited on, the manager coming and going, all of them increasingly trying not to be flustered.

The clerk was. I’d never seen her before and she certainly seemed new. She flicked her long hair out of her way in annoyance. Finally one of the people grabbed an item and walked back into the aisles with a huff to put it back away.

More waiting for him to come back. Maybe he was searching for the right aisle.

Meantime, a woman had come up from behind. I tried to figure out how to rescue her from being stuck there too without making the clerk’s evening any worse. We smiled at each other; as the minutes ticked on, we shrugged our shoulders ever so slightly and chuckled together. She chose not to look for another line, although others were opening up. Not to be in a hurry.  She came across as someone you’d want to get to know the moment you met her.

And then to my surprise she finally said something–but not at all about the line but rather, “What is that?”

That was so unexpected that it took me a second as I followed her glance. Oh wait–the acorn squash?

“Yes, what is that? What do you do with that?” And then, “Is it bitter?”

No, it’s not bitter, and I explained cutting it in half, scooping out the little bit of string and seeds and microwaving or baking it; that we liked ours with a little maple syrup on it.

She made an appreciative “Ooh” at the mention of maple syrup.

By her accent and features I would guess she was from India. The items she’d placed on the conveyor belt so far were foods of Mexican origin. I was charmed: here was someone with the courage to move to a very different new place and the curiosity to try, clearly, everything. And with the patience of Job.

Finally my milk and squash were being scanned, and in my delight at my fellow shopper I somehow relayed it in my face to the flustered clerk–who was startled to see herself being smiled at, that was the last thing she expected just then! She rang me up quickly and I thanked her.

And then the person coming up behind was more gracious still. I can only imagine what a relief it was to that person trying to get the hang of her new job.

It is amazing to me how the sudden impulse to go down the produce aisle, and then to pick something other than, say, carrots, made such a difference–and the change in tone in that line all came because the woman behind me assessed the situation and felt that she had all the time and the heart to give in this new world of hers. However long she’d been here.

6 Comments so far
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And sometimes it really is just that simple. (And so wonderfully subversive!)

Comment by Lynn 10.12.11 @ 3:37 am

Fresh produce really can make the world a better place…

Comment by Channon 10.12.11 @ 6:45 am

Old line relating to traffic: It happens to me every time; every lane moves except where I’m.

Amazing how a change of vegetable can make a difference in the world.

Comment by Don Meyer 10.12.11 @ 9:05 am

Other than the wating..sounds like a good experience for you. It’s nice when going to the store can be something other than mundane.

Comment by Ruth 10.12.11 @ 11:30 am

We had kaboca pumpkin soup for supper. Delicious and autumnal.

Comment by LauraN 10.12.11 @ 7:32 pm

it’s been so long since I had acorn squash. Yum! My mother used to bake it, put spaghetti sauce in the middle, add grated cheese and… yum!

And good for you for making it a little easier for a new clerk.

Comment by Lene 10.13.11 @ 3:30 pm

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