I tucked into one of my favorite local thought spots to write a letter this morning. Another woman was across the big common table from me, diligently tikka-takking away on her keyboard. She looked up, smiling, as a I sat down. I smiled back and we both ducked into the thick of our writing.
Until a guy several tables away let a gigantic sneeze storm through his whole being.
She hung her head, shaking and laughing. “That’s got to feel so good!” she said. We both cracked up and exchanged light conversation which ended when she packed up and left with “Good luck with your work!” It was so simple and genuine an interaction. Lovely, really.
I made my way down the street to the office where I dropped off the letter and headed back via the public library. I went in to use the restroom…which happens to be located beyond the quick pick mystery shelves… which usually manage to draw my attention away from whatever my original intent. Standing there, studiously tilted, was another reader. A reader who sighed when removing a volume and said “I’ve read it already…but it was so awfully good…” I noticed what she had in her hand and said “Oh! If that’s the sort of thing you like, have you read…” and I pulled a couple off the shelf. We launched into a short excursion across time and continents, recommending books to one another. She snapped photos of covers and I wrote down an author’s name before parting on a “Thanks! Have a good rest of your day!” Again, really basic stuff, but an honest human connection and engaging conversation.
I needed to get a birthday card for a community member before returning home so I stopped in the bookstore. Found the card, poked around, and went to pay. I pulled out some coins and noticed that what remained in my change pouch would be just enough to cover an ice cream in the public gardens sometime this week. I made mention of this to the guy helping me who said “Isn’t that a nice treat now and then?? Do you remember the Dairy Queen on the corner up here?….” And we were off onto summer expeditions from years earlier…including the shared memory of eating home made ice cream and helping by sitting on the board across the top while an adult churned.” Our time together lasted no longer than five to seven minutes but has lingered brightly all day long.
As I walked the last blocks home, I kept thinking about the grace of the conversations I had today…and how much they meant to me because they were so simple, so kind, so honest and uncomplicated and engaging. Each time, our common humanity was recognized and enriched. Enriched by joy, by spontaneity, by connection, by recognition.
… Sigh …
Giving thanks is a great way to go to sleep this evening.