Monday, January 10, 2011

Should this moment be shared?

(Me? Lonely? Nah, I'm actually content happy little me adjusting to life after R&R. Right?)

Thank you to those of you who responded to my last blog with little words of reassurances, to those of you who are here with me in this wired and wireless universe, to those of you who are willing to share moments with me in this quirked up way.

So here's another one, which actually happened in the very same supermarket during the very same weekend.

I was only buying one or two things. I can't remember what they were but it was a small and cheap order, something to go with dinner. I found myself on the checkout queue behind a simple looking woman in a dirty black robe who was holding a toddler in one arm and held a small wad of crumpled cash in her other hand. Slight, school-aged children with mussed hair and faded clothes flanked her either side and fiddled with the candies by the cashier as her mother went about her purchases.

When the cashier was done ringing things up, the woman was concerned and surprised by the bill. It had come to 21. Did she only have 20 in that wad of cash, or did she need to budget for something else? She quietly questioned the clerk, went over the list of items in detail, confirmed the price of the can of powdered milk and other items. She couldn't decide what to do, it seemed: which item should she forgo today?

As it was taking her a while, the cashier went ahead and rang up my small purchase. I quickly paid. I think mine came to 7.50 and I gave a bill of 10. I received 2 in change and, to make up for the difference, was handed a candy from the display. I returned the candy, took my 2 and walked out of the store.

Immediately the light bulb of guilt flashed on. Why didn't I give one of those wide-eyed children my candy? Why didn't I offer to buy the can of powdered milk for the woman? Instead, I jumped ahead of her in the queue and gave the candy back to the supermarket owner, who I am quite sure is a Chinese businessman. Just call me Scrooge.

So... this moment... should it have been shared?
Had I not been alone, would I and my companion inspired each other to good deeds and done right by the woman?
Or would a companion have distracted me, such that the woman and her family would go entirely unnoticed and ignored?

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