For the fourth year, I am participating in the SOLSC and guiding students from my classroom and my school on the same writing journey. Here is the link to our school blog and the 15-20 students who are participating in the Classroom Challenge.
On the way home I dropped by the grocery store to grab a few items my wife texted me about. Cat food, 4 apples, 4 oranges, chocolate bars, and bananas. With such a light cart, I was going to zip through the self-checkout and be quickly on my way home.
Instead, I chose the slow lane.
I'm not saying that I chose the cashier with the longest line or anything like that. But I was at the end farthest from the self-checkout and the first cashier I passed was Paul; with no line. We have been going to this store for nine years and Paul has been there for most of them. I recognize quite a few employees there but he is the only one I really know by name and who also knows my name. And Susan's. And Clara's. And he is slow.
It took two minutes before he even scanned my saver card because he was telling me about the new car he had bought, including showing me pictures. I asked about his races, because he runs 5k and 10k races and apparently places and gets medals often in the over 50 division. He asked how Susan and Clara were doing. He again expressed his desire to get married within two years (he's not dating anyone though because he would have told me about that too).
As all this is going on, and he is deliberately (read slowly) scanning my items and sending them down the conveyer belt for me to bag, I'm feeling impatient. Without Clara there for me to be distracted by, I am struck by how slow he is talking. I'm ready to go and get home and get hugs and EAT!
But I stay patient. I knew what I was getting into when I stopped at Paul's lane. He is kind. He cares. My daughter loves to say, "Hi Paul," when we see him, even if we don't choose his lane. And I like that I know a little something about him and he of us.
So I smile. I take the time to breathe. I make sure to really connect. Because it's not going to make a difference of more than a minute. I just hope the people behind me appreciate him too, and have a little patience.