Make My Day

Every now and again, you feel pure joy. Everything is going your way. I think that must be what J.K. Rowling was getting at when she referenced Felix Felicis, a.k.a. “Liquid Luck.”

When the hostess/waitress saw me come into the Colombian restaurant today, she knew immediately that I was joining a table of ladies of similar age. How did she know? I’m guessing that since we were the only non-Hispanic women in the place, we must belong together. We were also the only ones over forty.

I could have been offended by her presumption; but, her enthusiasm and warmth won me over immediately. Oh, and then there are the words with which she greeted me:

“Hello, beautiful lady, your friends are down that way, just keep going straight.”

Beautiful lady? Okay, I’ll take it. Even realizing that she probably greeted all of her customers the same way, didn’t change the happiness I felt in the moment. Someone, a stranger, took the time to make me feel good about myself.

And what did it cost her? You got it – nothing. In fact, I was careful to be a pleasant customer and leave a very nice tip. Smart lady!

You know what else? It created a cheerfulness that I wanted to pass on to others. I immediately started smiling. I wanted to be kind and thoughtful. Instead of being angry when a car pulled into my path on my way home, I slowed down to let it go.

That happy feeling is one that I remember being predominant in childhood.  The problem with wishing that you were a carefree child again is just that: you are care “free.” Children can empathize when they get older, but not when they are very young. It’s all about them. The people, pets, and other “stuff” in a child’s life are just satellites orbiting the planet “Me.”

It seems that we adults, in our modern, urban culture, have taken on too much self-centeredness and not enough of the selflessness. We haven’t grown up. We aren’t willing to give, until we know what we’re going to get. We don’t trust that our efforts to be kind, and thoughtful, and considerate will pay off. How sad. The South American waitress brought with her a different attitude. She didn’t display that detached indifference that we translate as competence in our citified culture; or, maybe, we see the brisk attitude as busyness. Busyness is status these days.

Could it be our overabundance and overindulgence? The way we raise our kids to be placated immediately in any situation, fearing persecution by others if we let them cry?

It’s tempting to blame the current political climate, stoked by the media, on carelessness; but, this has been going on for a long time. In fact, I might venture to say that today’s political climate is a reflection of what we have become, and not the other way around.

People don’t smile anymore. They don’t look at strangers when they pass on the sidewalk. They look down, or straight ahead, or at their phones. Each time this happens is a missed opportunity. When someone breaks this pattern of behavior, like my happy Colombian waitress, it can make a person’s day. It’s time to get thoughtfulness and generosity back into our lives. Bring some care”full”ness into the day. It doesn’t cost a thing.

Hello, beautiful reader!

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