Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Last week I was in Trader Joe's, as I am likely to be 2-3 times per week (don't worry, Safeway, I still love you, my list splits down the middle, you see, and, well, it's a long story...) Anyway, it was a couple days before Valentine's Day and the checker said, "So, do you have big plans for Saturday?"

"Well, actually, yes, it's my birthday on Saturday," I answered.

"That's so cool your birthday is on Valentine's Day," she answered, "you walk right over there to the $5.99 bouquets, and pick yourself out one - on us."

I did.

And that bouquet sits brightly on my dining room table and reminds me of the random acts of kindness of which I'm frequently on the receiving end of, but not always in full appreciation of.

Yesterday I pulled into the parking lot, popped the back hatch, walked around, grabbed three Trader Joe's reusable sacks from my stash in the back, and walked in.

Finished shopping, pulled my red cart up to the checker, shook my bags dramatically, for effect, and began bagging things just as fast as the poor guy could scan. If he was too slow I took the opportunity to scan my credit card, click "credit," and tap my toe while waiting for something else to bag.

"I see you're a multi-tasker!" he commented.

"Yes," I answered, "it's both a curse and a blessing."

"I understand," he said, "I'm the same way." This surprised me, as I was struck by his almost meditative quality to scanning - he was just so present.

"Yea," I said, "I end up doing most things twice, since the first time is too fast and too sloppy - someday I'll learn."

"I get it," he said. "Wouldn't it nice to just be released from the obsession?"

I'm not so sure, I thought. Who would I be without my ability to do 10 things at once?

"Maybe," I said.

But his words, "released from" still resonate.


Maddy said...

Likewise! If someone released me from the ability to do many things simultaneously our whole family life would come to a grinding halt. That said, they do say that no-one is indispensable. [except me of course!]

Robin said...

You say "need" to multitask, I say "ability" to multitask. Tomato, Tomahto.....

Angie Ledbetter said...

I've got to multi task, or absolutely nothing would get done. I really do wonder what it'd be like to simply do one thing at a time until it's done.

jesswilson said...

sometimes the wisdom we need comes from the last place we expect to find it.

sounds to me like he might have a point for all of us.

Amber said...

The Zen of Joe.


Deb Shucka said...

Who knew Trader Joes had all the answers as well as all the best food? I love the idea of release - another word for freedom - and what that can bring. Like a surprise bouquet of flowers.

Wanda said...

All of that is probably true, but I am also struck by the difference between how males multi-task and how females do.

She said...

Sometimes (these days) I don't task at all!

: )

Laura said...

I love random conversations. Today, at Safeway, when the check-out lady called me Mrs. MarriedLastNamethatisStillonmyCard, I told her that I need to change that, it bothers me to hear it. She said, "do you have kids." To which I responded, "yes." "Well, then," the wise woman said, "it's their name." A new perspective at 6:30 in the morning. Lovely.

I hope you enjoyed your birthday, flowers and all.

kario said...

Ooh, I'm resembling that remark. Damn you, I don't need any more 'lessons' right now.