I needed some kind of spike to hold up the wooden garden sign I’ve painted for a new garden at my church.
When I tried the Water Art store I found no sign spike but beside the parking lot was a chestnut tree. I picked up some gorgeous, mahogany-looking chestnuts. Others were still hiding within their, first green, then brown husks with huge spikes that actually feel a little painful to the touch. “Oh, God they’re amazing. What a design.”
When a car door opened beside me, I shared my delight with a little girl and her dad. Typically for her age, she didn’t smile or speak, but the curious things in my hand certainly focussed her attention.
I gave up on the artsy store and tried Rona Lumber. The clerk at the door pointed me to a tall young man in the hardware dept. He was standing doing nothing until he noticed us watching.
After listening carefully to me he seemed to get the idea, even though his Eastern European accent showed that English was not his first language. Instead of just showing me where the metal slats and rods were, he stayed with me to muse about what might work. I hadn’t thought about the metal spike rusting. He showed me aluminium options. Before I could ask the price, he took out his digital price reader so that I’d have an idea of the various costs. It was helpful. I bought nothing.
I thanked him and bustled away.
Thinking back, I was impressed by the amount of time he had taken serving me. Then I remembered that the store had been very quiet. The picture came to mind of him standing idly in the aisle when I first arrived. I bet he was bored witless. I think he was glad that a customer had come along, one who wasn’t sure exactly what she needed.
It was a simple interchange that likely pleased both of us. I just wish I hadn’t been quite so self-focussed and hurried away with only a quick thankyou. He might have appreciated a bit more friendly chat, especially as an immigrant.
I’m always so worried about taking people’s time with small talk; I have a horror of becoming one of those irritating talkers who won’t go away.
“Spirit, please slow me down and help me not to assume what others are thinking.”