Saturday, December 08, 2007

An Accidental Moment of Calm


I noticed just today how everyone’s energy level is ratcheted up in preparation for the holidays. Traffic is worse, the stores are more crowded, and tempers are short. It’s so easy to get caught up in everyone else’s frenzy.

I went to Costco to return something and buy blueberries and some other miscellaneous fruit. There was hardly a spot in the parking lot or a cart to be found. I waited in line with my 5 items among the carts piled high with merchandise.

When I got to the parking lot, I faced a standoff. I couldn’t get my car out because so many people were blocking the space behind it and no one wanted to move even one inch. Some well-meaning guys helped me pull forward and back a number of times so that I could finally extricate myself from that mess.

It should have been a simply matter to take in the few things I had gotten at Costco and elsewhere. Part of me said to make several trips since the Costco items were all unbagged. But no, I attempted it all in one. I saw the accident happening as I closed the car door and one of the containers of blueberries slipped, just hovering for a few seconds before falling onto the driveway where I was amazed to see just how many blueberries are in a container. I wasn’t about to sweep $7.50 worth of blueberries into the trash, so I just sat down on the wet driveway and starting picking them up one by one by one.

It was such a calming moment, even as I told myself the accident could have easily been avoided. At one point my husband came out to take in the other purchases. He had the good sense to avoid saying, “What happened?” to which I was prepared to reply, “Isn’t it obvious?” Instead he just quietly took things inside and left me to my job of rescuing stray blueberries. They weren’t at all damaged, just loose on the driveway.

It probably took all of 10 minutes, but it put the entire morning in perspective. I’ll just have to remember to wash the blueberries before adding them to my Cheeios this week.

Have you too noticed the return of the holiday craziness?

10 Comments:

Blogger Pauline said...

I will remember the blueberries in the driveway story when I get stressed...if I pick up my troubles one by one they may be easier to handle, and if I have the patience to collect my thoughts (like you did the runaway blueberries), I will be better off.

7:42 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Pauline -- There is something therapeutic about the repetitiveness of one by one by one of anything.

9:09 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

I thought Pauline's analogy was wonderful.......

I stupidly went to Penney's and Dillard's (local dept store) this morning. What WAS I thinking? As I approached Costco, I winced and drove on. I will go Monday instead!

The holiday feeding frenzy is definitely ON!

9:11 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kate -- The beauty of being retired is that you CAN go on Monday! What was I thinking going anywhere today?

9:15 PM  
Blogger Kellyann Brown said...

When I went shopping at my usual grocery store which shares a parking lot with the local Target store. The parking lot was packed, so I slowed down and looked for people ready to go to their cars. I waited five to seven minutes for a group of people to get into their car and pull out. As I prepared to pull into the empty space, a woman drove into the same space from behind. I was shocked at her selfishness! I have to admit, I gave her a very dirty look as I drove slowly by her. I wonder if she was aware of what she had done. Later, as I was shopping, I rationalized that she was probably having one of those hard shopping days and I tried to let it go. I am so glad that my family has decided to go with a single handmade gift rather than individual gifts this year. It has released from the hassle of shopping, both financially and emotionally.

5:07 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kelly -- I applaud your family's choice to simplify.

8:39 AM  
Blogger GEWELS said...

What would the holidays be without the commercial craziness.
I actually kind of enjoy it though. Most people are rather patient waiting in line AND, you get to meet a new friend!

Compared to my days of running a flowershop and working 15 hour days the weeks before Christmas this is SO low stress for me. Being on the toher side of the cash register definitely puts things in perspective!

Happy Holidays!!!!

10:55 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Gewels -- I never had a job which became so demanding around the time of the holidays. Even my hair stylist was bemoaning his schedule over the next few weeks. You are so right that is it a luxury to be able to choose to be on the other side of the cash register.

11:15 PM  
Blogger steve said...

iT HAPPENS TO ME A LOT, BUT I NOTICED IT IN PARTICULAR YESTERDAY...
i HAVE A WAY OF REALLY ZIPPING THROUGH A GRCERY STORE...i KNOW EXACTLY WHAT i WANT AND WHERE IT IS AND i NEVER REALLY JUST WALK ALONG PERUSING THE AILSES....BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN I AM IN A HURRY.
i FIND THAT IF SOMEONE IS IN THE MIDDLE OF AN AISLE, CLOGGING IT UP, I WILL JUST WAIT FOR IT TO CLEAR.
bUT THAT PERSON, ONCE THEY NOTICE
(oops, excuse me)
that I am waiting, will fall all over themselves trying to hurry to get out of my way.
they always apoplogize for holding me up and I try to give them my best smile and say as slowly as possible that I ALWAYS have a minute or two extra; and I'll generally speak to them for a moment or tw3o just to prove it.
I don't understand people that are in such a hurry that they have to multitask(while driving even) and go so fast to try to save a minute.
my kids sometimes ask if I have to talk to EVERYBODY bgut really, what else am I supposed to be doing?
Actually, I kept running into the same two girls the other day and they would giggle at me...i thought maybe they wanted to flirt...
When I left the store I discovered my fly was down.

4:06 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Steve -- I agree there are awkward moments in grocery stores when people inadvertently block the aisles. A low-key "excuse me" usually solves the problem. I am most likely to talk to people as I wait in lines of any kind. Sometimes they look at me like I'm nuts, and maybe I am, but it helps pass the time.

Then there was the cop one night this past week who wanted to speak to me. As I gulped and prepared for the worst, he simply said, "Lady, I wanted to let you know your lights were off and the person turning left at the last intersection almost ran into you." I did it again -- talked my way out of a ticket and headed on home to Virginia.

4:40 PM  

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