This month, I have committed to writing every day through the community at Two Writing Teachers. All are welcome to the March Slice of Life Challenge!
I generally do most of my grocery shopping on the weekends. The last few weeks have inspired particularly crazy weekend grocery store madness because of all of the snowstorms. The weather patterns have favored Sunday storms.
Today, the grocery store was quieter than I have come to expect on a Saturday afternoon. I found a close parking spot. I had a plethora of carts to choose from. The aisles were stocked... Maybe because I was with one of my daughters, or maybe because the store was less crowded, or maybe because we had no great sense of urgency, I found myself paying more attention to the people than I usually do. One particular woman, one particular interaction struck me.
Walking down the mayonnaise aisle, I found myself stuck behind a woman with a walker, leading another woman with a cart. The first woman was clearly sick--she was way too thin, her color was off, her hair thin...The second woman was clearly helping her. Oblivious to other shoppers, they trekked down the aisle, trying to remember if they needed olive oil. There was no getting by them.
As another person passed us, having had to wait for the pair to get past a worker who was stocking shelves, she rolled her eyes. Not the friendly kind of eye roll, but the truly annoyed eye roll. The eye roll that says that this is an unbelievable inconvenience.
"It could be a whole lot worse," I said quietly.
She didn't hear me, and I didn't want her to, but what if she had? Would my question have given her a moment of pause to be grateful that she could walk down the aisles quickly and efficiently, held up only by slower shoppers in her midst? Or does she have demons that aren't so apparent--demons that rush her and render her impatient and hostile, incapable of an empathetic smile?
I'm reminded that we don't know what keeps people up at night, what worries confront them when they wake.
And I'm reminded to be kind.
- Melanie Meehan
- I taught for several years at a residential school for children with emotional disabilities before staying home after the birth of my second daughter. I returned to teaching, finished my Educational Leadership program in May of 2012, and now work as our district's Writing and Social Studies Coordinator. I have always loved writing and find constant inspiration from my family. Maybe someday, I will get to see my name on the cover of a book!