All day long, as I stand behind my cash register, I ask people “What’s been a highlight of your day?” If they act all stumped and say “Gee, the highlight of my day…?”, I try to lower the bar: “not the highlight – a highlight, any little thing that made you smile”. Frequently they turn the question around and ask me. Because I’m spending the day the way I am, my answers will frequently feature some of these very encounters with customers. Here are some of my highlights from Wednesday, January 28.
10 a.m. – arrive at work. I’ve been depressed for 12 days. My depressive cycles have been lasting, pretty consistently, 13-14 days – so I’m not expecting a change.
- Five year old Shona arrives with his mom Mary and little sister Izzy. He has had a crush on me for months, but lately he has been preoccupied with my 20-something rock musician wild man coworker Rowdy – who is really a very fun, charismatic young guy. This morning Shona prevails on his mom to go to Rowdy’s line, which provokes lots of tears from Izzy, who wants me. I feel honestly a little hurt to lose his loyalty, but am completely charmed by his parting line to the two of us: “Rowdy and Majo – think about me!” Totally precious.
- Andy and Debbie – a delightful 50ish couple who have total loyalty to my line and are avid readers of the blog, talk with me about what they have been reading. They have been finding situations in their lives to use the line, “Sometimes it just fits” – which I had ten years ago used on the apoplectic gas station customer who fumed at me “How dare you call me a bitch?!” (“My favorite firing”, January 15). It feels great to know that people are reading and enjoying the blog, but to hear that something in the blog is affecting them in some other part of their lives – or in any way spilling over from the moments of reading – that really rocks.
- This 65ish woman asks me where we keep our reusable bags. Her irritated rough-mannered husband says, “We’ve got about 40 bags.” “But they wear out, and we don’t have any with us.” As she goes off to claim a bag or two, he – totally disgusted – says, “Aah, brother, more bags.” I make the mistake of getting in the middle of the argument: “I’ve got bags for all the stores I regularly shop. We love it when someone would rather buy a reusable bag than use a paper bag.” “Aww, geez.” The whole thing was actually pretty funny and really tickled me.
- My friend Jenn comes in: an adorable late-30’s mom who I have known from Jubilee for about seven years and am crazy about, as are so many people who know her. She is smart, feisty, strong, funny, affectionate, a fabulous friend and a world-class mom. Maybe the most painful part of being depressed is the way my heart gets closed. Contact with Jen routinely opens my heart and this instance is no exception. She has gone through another line, thinking I wasn’t there (I had been on break) and needs to keep moving to get back to work, but we have a sweet hug and exchange a few words before she heads for the door. This brief encounter kind of takes my breath away from how open my heart feels.
All of these encounters happened in my first two hours of work. Looking back, it seemed clear that my depression was already lifting before Jenn came through – but then seeing her kind of broke its back. You just can’t feel this kind of love and be depressed at the same time.
Was my biochemistry shifting in ways that allowed me to be moved by these exchanges? Or were these lovely encounters overcoming the depressive biochemistry? I’ll share more about this and more charmed encounters from this one amazing day in my next post.