Archive for the ‘Thoughtfulness’ Category

Them People

Today, let’s focus on human kindness.


The world could use a little more of it, I think.

After work today I went to the grocery store.  Normally, I hate those self-check machines, but I had one easy-to-scan item and I didn’t feel up to any human contact. 

Apparently, the nonhuman scanner machine has a motion detector.  It felt my presence…

  • Welcome.  Do you have a Super Saver Card?
  • Please scan your Super Saver Card now.
  • Are you still there?
  • Beep.
  • Thank you for scanning your Super Saver Card.
  • Please scan the first item.
  • Beep.
  • Seven.  Ninety.  Nine.
  • Please scan the next item. 
  • Beep.
  • Order complete.
  • Do you have any coupons?
  • If yes, scan your coupons now.
  • Select your method of payment.
  • Please wait for an attendant.

Augh!!!   Had I gone through the check isle with an actual human clerk, there would have been less conversation.  I usually get the same clerk and she doesn’t say much more than hello and reminds me when my gas perk points are going to expire.  I don’t strike up conversation either.  Not with the clerk.  Not with the other people in line.  Not with the bagger.  I’m usually too absorbed in my own thoughts and frustrated that the gas perk points are going to expire before my tank is empty.

Throughout each day, many of us exchange no more than just a few words between lots of different people.  Grocery clerks, doormen, bank tellers, ticket takers, security guards, parking lot attendants, restaurant servers, bus drivers, maintenance men, and more.  And when we do, we’re usually so self-absorbed with our own thoughts that they become…

dare I say it…nonhuman.


How is it that we can so easily shed our skin of kindness and ignore, or even be outright rude, to the “them” we interact with every day?  Is it an easy, no-consequences, I’ll never see that person again situation where we can just let rudeness rip?  I see so many people do it…and I have to wonder…why?

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle.

How different would the world be if we approached every one of our human interactions with kindness?  What if we approached every person we met with compassion?  What if we took just a moment to realize that a  few kind words, or a sincere smile, or just a little eye contact, could make a big, positive impact in the day of a complete stranger. 

Okay, so I’m giving us homework.  The next time you are in the company of a grocery clerk, or a mailman, or a waiter..or anyone else that is typically treated as a nonhuman in their area of service…say “thank you,” while looking them straight in the eye and thinking to yourself…

“You are a person to me.   In this brief moment in both of our lives…it mattered.” 

Report back.  Let me know what happened.

Show and Tell

My week thus far has consisted of work and more work.  Kind of boring for a Show and Tell unless you’re dying to see photos of my office.  So…. back we go to Sunday.

Having a rare two hours of free time, I headed to the mall.  If you’re not a football fan, let me just tell ya that the absolute best time to go shopping is during the Sunday afternoon game when the hometown team is on TV.  The advantages are…

  • husbands don’t notice you’re gone;
  • no traffic on the roads;
  • plenty of parking by the door;
  • no waiting in line at the register; and
  • open tables in the food court.

 A quick trip to the mall was exactly what the doctor ordered.  My weekends are always emotionally rough, since I spend most of them at my parents’ house helping them through hard times.  My mom’s health is getting worse and each visit tugs at the heartstrings. 

So, as I was browsing around in Ladies, someone said my name.  What??!  Isn’t the entire world as we know it watching football?  I turned and saw a classmate from high school.  She’s a super sweet, genuine person and Facebook friend, but we’ve only seen each other a few times in the past 20 years. 

Out came the standard “Hi!  How are you?”  At this point, two options flashed through my mind about how to respond:

  1. Great!  How are you?  How are the kids?  or….
  2. I’m doing okay.  My parents are ill.  I’m tired, emotionally drained, sad, but hanging in there, blah, blah, blah.

In a typical situation like this, I usually put on a #1 happy face.  This time, I was caught off guard.  The shopping trip hadn’t cleared my mind.  I spilled out the #2 blah blah blah.  It was out there.  I couldn’t take it back.  Help!  Get me out of Ladies, and quick!! 

Up the escalator I fled, which put me in Electronics.  And, smack dab into the middle of a crowd of men.  Time for another What??!  There they stood.  In the isles.  In front of the display TVs.  Watching the big game.  Some were even wearing the team jersey. 

  • Did their wives force them to go shopping? 
  • Did they journey to Mecca Electronics on purpose? 
  • Have their TVs at home been taken by the repo man?
  • Are the sports bars at capacity?
  • Is there beer here? 
  • Is it a coincidence that the Lazy Boy display is in full testing mode? 

For what it’s worth, the ridiculous scene broke my stress and allowed me to carry on with a happier day.  As to my high-school classmate, she sent me a very nice note by e-mail the next day.  Words of encouragement.  Offers to lend a hand.  Had I fibbed in response to the how are you question, this exchange of human kindness would not have occurred.  It showed me that it’s okay to be raw and honest in the real life game of Show and Tell.  It’s okay to reveal your BACKBONE and allow someone else to show you theirs. 

Do you typically hide your emotions or let them show?  Does it depend on who is on the receiving end?

 If you liked this post, you may also like The Man Mall and When Roles Reverse.

Hey Mr. Postman

This afternoon at work I decided to take a lunch break instead of working through the noon hour at my desk.  When I returned 40 minutes later, there were 22 new e-mails in my in-box.  Whaaa?!!?   I hate when that happens.   Luckily, there were a few I could delete without opening and a few more than were part of a chain.   E-mail overload always kills my day. 

When I was growing up, there wasn’t e-mail, or cell phones, or texting.  If someone wanted to reach me, they would call on the land line or send a letter by mail. 

These days, I hardly ever approach my mailbox with excitement.  Ads, bills, coupons, flyers, donation requests along with 2 dozen return address labels. 

Attention All Charity Organizations – the people of America have enough return address labels to last a century.  Send something better.  Like chocolate.  Or wine.  Or money.  Or concert tickets. 

Going to the mailbox ranks low on my list of daily thrills.  So, this week I was super excited when a few surprises arrived by U.S. Mail. 

Tulips from Amy…


A photo book from Stacey…


She used Shutterfly to compile a book of photos from our last five years of  “girl trips.”  It has over 90 pages so I know it took her a long time to design.  It was very special because so much time and thought was put into the effort.


But the best of all was a letter from Sheila…

I loved receiving this letter because it was very heartfelt.  Yes, the card was nice, but her hand-written words were touching.  I always get a warm feeling when I read someone’s thoughts in their own handwriting.  I don’t get that feeling at all when reading an e-mail.  The fact that a friend took the time to pen a note, fold it, stamp it, and send it off into the government delivery system increases its sentimental value to me. 

A few weeks ago my mother-in-law showed me a letter that I wrote to her when I first started dating her son.  It was kinda cool to see my handwriting from back then, and special to me that she had saved it.  In a shoebox.  Not an e-mail in-box. 

When was the last time that you wrote or received a hand written letter?  Do letters mean more than e-mail?

If you haven’t written a letter in a while, try writing one this weekend.  I’m sure that special person will be super surprised when it arrives!