Blame It On The Holidays

I was racing thru Trader Joe’s this afternoon looking for pesto sauce.  Went to the sauce section and there was this frumpy lady with her shopping cart.. and I say frumpy because she was all bundled up in her snowman jacket, scarf and a big’ol bag that I could’ve jumped in.  She was standing right in front of the sauce self.  I was mumbling to myself as I tried to scan the self… “there’s the tomato pesto, marinara, now where is the plain old basil pesto?”  She quickly turned around and bumped into me with her purse.  “Oh I’m so sorry dear. I’ve been bumping and turning into everyone this morning,”   she says.   “No worries,” I say.  She goes on to say how clumsy she’s been.  I blurt out, “Just blame it on the holidays!”  She laughs and says, “Oh no!!!  I wish I could blame it on the holidays but I’ve been a mess lately.”   I’m thinking, Oh man! I just want my pesto sauce.  I’ve got 10 minutes to check out and dash to pick up the kid and I hope the green light gods will be kind to me.

image by Philip James Corwin/Corbis


She continues.  I have no choice but to listen cause I wanted my pesto sauce!  “You see, I haven’t been present.  Constantly thinking of my granddaughter who was diagnosed with Leukemia…”  My heart sank.  I just looked into her eyes and she kept talking and I kept listening.  I completely lost track of time and she stopped abruptly and turns to the shelf and pulls out the pesto jar I wanted.  “Here’s your pesto sauce, dear,” she says with a big bright smile.  She even stood up taller and looked less frumpy.

The express lane opened up.  I paid.  I ran out the door.  Jumped into my car.  Drove to school and the green light gods were very kind indeed.     After settling the fear of being late for school pickup, I suddenly realized that I had a deep connection with a total stranger in the middle of Trader Joes.  I big rush of calm swept over me.  I am reminded how easily I can slip into overdrive… over load and miss out on the most important part of the holiday season… to reflect, connect, and slow down.

Thank you frumpy lady at Trader Joes for bumping into me and forcing me to listen and pay attention… for it was I who was not present!

4 thoughts on “Blame It On The Holidays

  1. So glad I read this post this morning. I am starting to get into the “Christmas is only a week away” frenzy and I need to snap out of it! Time to breathe deep, relax, be present and enjoy the true meaning of this season! Thanks for the reminder.

  2. Jenni Tillett says:

    Nikki, I had a very similar experience in the produce section of the grocery store. This lady asked me about the bag of country greens in my hand and I explained I love them because they’re all chopped up and ready to go. She started talking about her dental work and how she can’t eat everything, and all the money it’s costing, and before you know it we’re having this deep conversation which brought her to tears. And even through her tears I could see that she was a truly happy person, all smiles. I will never forget that lady, and the connection that you can feel with a total stranger.

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