There are moments in my life where my lack of patience tends to come back and bite me in the backside. Such as yesterday. In the checkout line of the local grocery store.
I had just stopped to pick up a few things after a long hike along the river and I was anxious to get home and download the 100 plus pictures I'd taken. As I unloaded my cart the checker began chatting with the lady in front of me.
"Oh, great. Of course I pick the shortest line and get the slowest checker because she has to chat." I thought to myself. "Why don't they train the checkers to just check and keep the chit-chat to 'hi' and 'have a good day'."
Normally I'm not this big of a jerk in the check-out line, but I had more important things to do. Or so I thought.
Finally, it was my turn and as 'Cathy' began ringing up my items, I forced a smile and said the obligatory, "how are you today?" As she picked up a bottle of wine she said, "I see this one come through a lot. I'm going to try this one."
"Yeah, I like the blends and this is a really good one," I replied.
"I've been going to different wineries with my husband. Next week I'm taking him to the Aquarium in Monterey and we are going to visit some wineries down there. I want him to see the Aquarium before he dies. I hear it's something to see and after all these years together we deserve a big trip."
"He's got cancer and it won't be long now. I don't have many tears left to cry, especially after yesterday and gettin' to work all red-eyed and what not. He says I don't need to take him down to Monterey but I want him to see the Aquarium. And I want to take him to Bubba Gumps. Did you know they have a Bubba Gumps there?"
Yes, I know there's a Bubba Gumps down on Cannery Row. And I also know, as 'Cathy' continues talking why I ended up in her line.
Because, I needed a reminder that maybe people like 'Cathy' need people like me to just listen for a few minutes. I don't know anything about her or her husband, their life together, any children they may have had, places they've been or homes they've made their own. What I do know is that a woman is about to lose her life long partner and it's not something she's looking forward to. God could not have given me a bigger dose of humble pie than the one I'd just eaten.
As I looked Cathy in the eyes and we said our parting pleasantries, I walked away thinking how ironic it was that less than an hour prior to standing in Cathy's line, I'd been photographing a pair of Canadian geese who were standing on some rocks in the middle of the river. If you know anything about Canadian geese it's that when they reach about two years of age, they find a mate and stay with each other for life.
Cathy and her husband are staying with each other, for the rest of his life.