While visiting a local supermarket with a reputation for having good produce, I was enjoying having my soon-to-head-back-to-college son with us. I know we swapped some light-hearted banter while my daughter found the items on her list. (She made us promise not to get gummy bears from the bulk bins, but they were on sale. And, she didn’t care if I got a bag of the almonds that were on sale, but when I did the bag tore and made a mess within the blast zone.) I don’t believe any clementine juggling took place. We would not injure innocent fruit unless we were planning on consuming it.
As we chose a lane to check out (we really did not have a choice. There was only one lane open UNTIL I had all of my items on the belt. Once mine made it on the belt, the next lane opened up.), I looked forward to having a possible conversation with the cashier. He was a jolly gentlemen who used to be a respiratory therapist. The stress of that job pushed him into working nights at the above mentioned supermarket. (There may have been a few other stops and hops along his journey to here. If there were, he never mentioned them or I had yet to ask.)
As the groceries started going across his scanner, he asked, “So, did you find everything?”
Being a dutiful customer, I replied, “Yep. I scattered a few almonds for the vermin that lick crumbs off the floor every night. And, I sacrificed a mixture of fruits in a an effort to push back the upcoming winter temperatures.”
Still in character, he added, “I don’t often talk to someone who knows so much about what goes on around here.”
As my kids gave me odd looks, I confessed to all who would listen including the lady right behind me in line, “I know you need to make conversation with whoever comes through the line, so I figured I would help you out. A couple times ago, you told me about your past career….”
I pause for effect. The lady behind me turns her head slightly to hear this possibly interesting fact. My daughter is not facing me, but I anticipate an eye roll. My son being a bit of a clown himself is curious what I will do in my moment. And, the cashier slows up his processing of items on the belt to hear clearly if I knew about his respiratory therapy past.
“….as a male dancer.”, I finished. The lady behind me smiles. My son laughs out loud.
The cashier gives a chuckle and says, “My wife probably wishes that was the case. I have never been much of a dancer.”
As I can tell my daughter is choosing not to give me any eye contact, I embarrass her further by saying, “My daughter can’t believe her dad can’t keep his mouth shut–not even to go to the store.”
The lady behind me smiles a little bigger as embarrassment must be a natural way of trying to smother the slightly inappropriate. The cashier gives me the receipt while giving me a smile that seems to say, “Thanks for your business and for breaking the monotony of an otherwise boring day.”
While not wanting to let my moment die quite yet, I couldn’t help but say, “I know you don’t accept tips, and I don’t want you to dance for it. So, I hope you will settle for, ‘Have a good night.'”
The conversation on the drive home allowed me to relive my moment from their perspective. It is in these moments my kids character comes out. My son encouraged me to continue to be my quirky self. My daughter wanted to go home and hug her mother and tell her what a monster her father is when she is not there to supervise. (Not really….or if she did she was discrete.)
I don’t always involve so many people in my fun. Maybe, I need to make it a goal. If it is not illegal, immoral or unethical, I should go for the smile. I will keep exploring this philosophy during the course of 2016. Maybe I will blog more…..?