Friday, September 30, 2022

Micro Graces

 Friday afternoon, and I’m on my way to do something I’m conflicted about doing (that will be another post). In a moment of weakness, I stop at a convenience store and grab a soda.

I’ve largely cut out soda from my daily life. I was once a mass consumer of Diet Coke, but I stopped (mostly). Partially out of health concerns; partially because of the cost; and partially because I lost my taste for it.

However, when we’re under stress, we’re often prone to falling back into old habits (at least I am, more often than I care to admit). One soda won’t kill me, I reason. And if it gets me motivated to accomplish the task before me, so much the better.

Inside the store, I make my way back to the fountain. As is often the case, the Diet Coke is coming out oddly. I try it, and the mix is off. I go to the counter, apologize for the ask because they’re a little busy, and ask if they can change out the syrup. One of the clerks heads to the storeroom.

While I’m waiting, a lady is struggling to get lids on her drinks. She makes a comment about the universe working against her. I thought she was perhaps using the wrong size lid, and suggested a different one. When she tried the new lid, it wasn’t the right size, which then sparked her to fit the original lid on her cup. “See?”, I responded. “The Universe just needed me to come make a mistake so it could take you back into it’s good graces.” We laughed, and wished each other a good day.

A few moments later, she came back and handed me two dollars. “Your drink is on me. Have a blessed day.” 

Now ordinarily I would protest something like this. But I’ve learned over the years that if someone wants to give you something, the motivation is often more about them than it is about you. So I said thank you and accepted the gift, because I didn’t want to rob her of the desired context for her act.

I hung out for a bit and got my soda. It was still off, but the problem was likely the nozzle instead of the soda itself and I told the clerk so. I then went to the counter to pay. Behind was someone with several items. I paid for my soda with my phone and then gave the clerk the two dollars. I asked her to put it on the person’s bill behind me, and left the store.

What did the person behind me do? I have no idea. Did they need the money, or even acknowledge it? Again, don’t know and not the point.

I went my vehicle with my soda.

This was really not a big deal, but it made me consider what if we all intentionally tried to train ourselves to do and say little positive things. What if it were natural for us to do nice things, not because of what we get but because of what it might do?

You could argue that I’m extrapolating too much out of this event, and you might be right. However, I’m less concerned with my unwanted task. I feel pretty sure that the person who gave me those two dollars left in a better mood than when I encountered, and I’m thankful for that. And I’m not kicking myself over a soda.