I’m feeling so blessed lately. It’s more than a feeling, actually, I am blessed. Blessed be my name. I think it’s from last week, I was at the grocery store, this lady and I were heading toward the cashier at the same time and, even though I knew exactly how it was going to play out, her with that little granny-cart filled to the brim with produce, I smiled and waved her on through. Even though it would’ve taken me maybe a fifth of the time have just my dozen or so items scanned through, I’d have paid with my credit card, swipe, done, see ya.
But it was even worse than I could have imagined, everything she had in that cart, there was some sort of a corresponding coupon, somewhere in her hand, if only she could just match them up one by one. If she wasn’t such a sweet looking old lady, I might have started tapping my feet impatiently, like you know how people do it, right? They fold their arms and they tap one foot on the ground really aggressively, a very quick, constant tapping, and they look right at you.
And this whole process just kept snowballing, it was more and more unbearable to watch, the item got scanned, “Wait, wait, wait, I have a coupon.” And the cashier would be like, “I know. I know you have a coupon. You gave it to me already.” And the old lady would be like, “Really? Well, why does that only say twenty-seven cents saved? I though my coupon was for thirty-two cents.” And they’d have to go back and double check that, yes, unfortunately it was only a twenty-seven cents savings, all the while the lady was just shaking her head, unable to process why the grocery gods had forsaken her, those five extra cents.
But she was really old, maybe she reminded me of my grandmother. She kind of smiled at me when I let her go ahead, even though, like I already said, I would’ve been much, much quicker. But I guess statistically speaking, she’s the one with less time. If I make it to be an old man, I certainly don’t want to have to waste any of my precious minutes left waiting behind the younger generation at the grocery store.
That half-smile she gave me as she waltzed on through to the cashier, I couldn’t even tell if she was smiling, not a conscious smile, it could have been one of those etched-on smiles that old people sort of settle in to after a whole lifetime of smiling. Or frowning. It could go either way. Have you ever seen an elderly person trapped under the weight of a lifetime of scowling? No, this lady had clearly been I’d say at least generally happy, maybe a little confused, like she was at that moment, studying the screen as each item popped up after being scanned, like, is this right? Did I really pick this stuff out? Weren’t there supposed to be more savings?
And then as she was counting out the exact change needed to pay for everything, that painstaking process of taking out her really, really big wallet, getting her fingers to pry apart the leather insert that separated her cards from her cash from her coupons, I probably could have stood to maybe mind my own business a little better, but I couldn’t take my eyes away, I swear, it was like that wallet was ninety-five percent filled with cut out pieces of paper.
But like I said, somewhere in this eternal process of paying in exact change, she knocked the quart of milk off of the conveyor. And I guess that it was a good thing I was paying way too much attention to every little detail unfolding in slow motion right before my eyes, because I was ready, I saw that quart go down, maybe I could have even stopped it from getting knocked over, but I was locked in, I wanted it pushed over that edge.
I swooped down, maybe a little too dramatically, I caught it with one hand, returned it to the counter before the old lady even had a chance to register what was happening. But thirty seconds later, it must have sunk in, because her perma-smile got just a little bit smilier, like remember how I was saying before how I couldn’t tell if her smile was really a genuine one? This one was definitely genuine. And she said, “Bless you!” which I thought, ha, bless you, what an old-fashioned thing to say.
But after she was done, when it was my turn to run my groceries through, it turned out that there were all sorts of savings that applied to my purchases, discounts and promotions that I was completely oblivious of. And then outside the store, I found a five-dollar bill on the ground. I started to think about it, that blessing business from before, could it have been more than just a polite gesture? Did this lady actually bless me?
And I’d have to conclude that, yes, I’m feeling really blessed. Like I went to work the next day and my boss said, “Hey Rob. Nice haircut. Looking good.” And I said, “Thanks boss.” But I hadn’t gotten a haircut in weeks. I’m telling you, blessed. I’m not sure how long this blessing is good for, but I’m just raking in all the good karma. I’m telling you, it pays to be nice, especially to little old ladies. You never know what sort of lifetime supply of blessings and good-wishes they have tucked away in those giant old-lady purses, just ready to bestow upon whichever good looking young lad happens to let them ahead at the grocery store, or saves their quart of two-percent from making a mess at the register.