I decided to pass by the bakery section to see what they could offer in the way of comfort food.
There wasn't anything particularly special about her. She looked in her late 40's to early 50's, her clothes were simple: a cream coloured skirt and matching flowery blouse. Her hair was short and brown she had on a pair of thin-framed glasses.
Nothing special about her at all.
"I'll take two currant rolls," she said
The clerk behind the counter grabbed a pair of tongs and reached into the case.
"Wait, I'll take the one on top and that one in the front row in the middle... please."
"Oh boy!" I thought, "One of those. The kind who just had to pick out the specific piece of whatever it was they wanted. I know it was just my bad mood talking but at that particular moment, nothing could irritate me more. Excuse me while I fight back an eye-roll."
"Oh!" she continued, "I'll have a piece of cake too. The one closest to me. Second from the left."
She pointed out the piece she wanted. The clerk behind the counter fished it out for her while I resisted the urge to let out an exasperated sigh.
Then the strangest thing happened. As the clerk bagged her goodies up, the woman who I had now dubbed "Pastry Lady" smiled, clapped her hands excitedly in front of her face and bobbed up and down. Then, as though she just noticed I was standing there, she turned to me. And her smiled broadened as she continued her bobbing and clapping. She wasn't embarrassed. She wasn't phased in the least.
And I smiled back.
Not in a patronizing, "Yay for you, crazy cake-lady!" kind of way. No... For that one brief moment, that woman's... glee infected me. Whatever stresses she faced in life, whatever cares she had, for that one instant took a back seat and she was able to truly appreciate this one small victory as if nothing else mattered. And neither did mine. Not anymore.
Then I remembered a quote by Emerson that one of my good friends on the blogosphere, Kelly, used in a post she did recently:
- “For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.”
Seems so simple, but it's true. I thought about all the little things I'd let pile up into one big ball of glum inside me and realized that they were just that. Little things. Each, by themselves, nothing. I gave them the power that they had over me.
After her pastries were bagged up, Pastry Lady turned back to the clerk, took the bags, smiled some more and thanked her as she left. I left too. I didn't bother to buy anything. Strangely, I didn't feel the need for "comfort food" anymore.
This stranger I encountered reminded me that as much as little things can bring us down, they can also serve to brighten our day as well.
People surprise me sometimes.