Dear Jennifer from Whole Foods,
A little over a week ago, I came into the store to replenish my stock of deliciousness from the magic wall of snack bins, which usually has a tendency to make me very giddy. This day, however, I was feeling mentally and emotionally sandpapered in a way that could not be soothed by large plastic scoopers and giant tubs of strawberry/raspberry granola or carob spirulina energy blocks. No, not even the sweet faces on the animal cookies could provide any comfort.
I just remember feeling low and somewhat removed from myself. I was tired, a little sad and a lot overwhelmed. I'm sure I must have looked serious when I came up to your register, because I know at times when I'm feeling perfectly pleasant I have a naturally down-turny mouth, even when I SWEAR I think I'm smiling a little. But on this day, I felt admittedly droopy, and I was gearing up to begin the Service Person/Detached Customer with Averted Eyes Interaction, UNTIL...
You started talking to me. Okay, at first I admittedly resisted and mumbled a bit, something like "uh-hmm, yeah..." in reply to your request if I'd found everything I needed, because as is the tendency when someone with my temperament gets caught in their headspace, I sort of wanted to remain the hermit crab wallowing in its sad wee shell. But then I looked up at the moment you asked if I was having a good day, and you said it as gently and sincerely as possibly anyone has ever said it to me and you locked into my gaze as if you were really trying to find a response in my eyes that I was okay. So profound was the sensation of your goodwill and genuinely peaceful smile that it knocked me a little off guard.
I have to be honest; I am usually the type of person who detests - DETESTS - mindless chit-chat with a stranger, mostly because I am very sensitive to tone and picking up people's vibes, and the moment I sense superficiality or ingenuity a switch flips in my brain and I get very turned off and want to get out of there. But, as you continued to ask me about my peace t-shirt (holy wow, I am starting to sound very hippy-dippy in this post, aren't I?) and told me about the pigeons you used to feed when you lived in Montana, and how there was one white one who would always show up with the rest of them and we began to wonder out loud if doves are basically white pigeons, I was drawn to your grounded calm, your magnetic serenity. It was something I rarely come across but am always drawn to. During our brief exchange I was struck by the positive energy you had shone into my life at just the moment I needed it. I came out of that place much lighter and breathing freer. Thank you so much for that.
Jennifer, cashier at Whole Foods and rare soul...I think if I see you again I am going to ask if you want to meet one afternoon for coffee.
Melissa from A House Not Far Away