Sunday, January 15, 2012

It's The Little Things

I was in the supermarket the other evening. I was in a particularly bad mood too. I won't bother to go into specifics but let's just say my mood was the end result of minor crappy events that I just let get to me.

I decided to pass by the bakery section to see what they could offer in the way of comfort food.
As I checked the display case, I began to notice the woman next to me who was already there choosing from the pastries on display.

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.


  1. This makes we want to go out in public, walk up to a stranger, and go

    "TAG! You're it!"

    And run away giggling...

    The glee is infectious...

  2. I couldn't agree more. Silly and stupid people are always on my radar, but I get great joy out of life while making fun of them.

  3. That was you!!! I always ask for just the cupcake I want...I ask them to find the one with the biggest flower since the icing is my favorite. I am the crazy cake lady pointing and specifying which one I want. I always thank the clerk since I know I'm crazy cupcake lady.
    glad to know I made you least across the ocean.
    She must be my counter part on the other side of the sea.

  4. That's one thing I'm looking forward to when it comes time to become a resident of Henderson, Nevada with easy access to Las Vegas: People as uninhibited as that, indulging freely in their pleasures.

  5. That is super uplifting and I love your take on it, but all I can focus on is how angry she makes me. Sure, sure, I've lost about 5 minutes of happiness, but how many minutes of happiness has she cost the workers of that shop? She stole probably a month. RAGE! Ah crap, there goes another life minute. Maybe I'll quite smoking instead.

  6. You could call me the "crazy chocolate lady" because I always choose my specific confection from the candy case and my smile broadens from ear to ear, and other things start happening that are inappropriate to talk about here. Yeppers, I'm one satisfied customer after getting my chocolate fix.

  7. That would make me smile too, although

  8. This is not a 'boring ass blog', this should be 'I am going to bitch slap some inspiration into you all'.


  9. @ Idahomie: I'm in!

    @ Brett: Well, we're in luck. I'll be playing the role of the silly person today ;)

    @ hisqueen: Please accept my thanks on her behalf.

    @ Currently Rory: Sounds like a lot of contact happiness to go around.

    @ Pickleope: Considering what I've seen people go through with the withdrawal, that may make things worse. Um-I mean-Good for you! Go for it!

    @ Keepin' It Real: Oh, please, do tell. We're all friends here.

    @ AC: I know! Right?

    @ dbs: I should try to write in a good mood more often. Come to think of it, I should try to be in a good mood more often.

    @ Nubian: I wonder if I can do a graphic for that...

  10. Pretty cool story. You were one step from blogging about a jerk and it turns out that she actually cheered you up. Crazy people have their purpose in life, huh? :)


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