Yesterday, I had to run over to the mall, even though I thought I was done with my Christmas shopping, to buy One Last Thing. (I capitalize that because it is not ever really One thing, but a plethora of things, and I’m sure I’ll be over there again, God help me.) Anyway. I knew just what I needed, went in the entrance nearest to it, straight to the department. Now, I don’t know if the person I was buying for reads this journal—I don’t think so—but just in case, let me just say that I what I was buying was in the housewares section, and I’ll leave it at that. So I get what I need, go over to the cashier, and get in line. Everyone’s pretty cheerful, considering the store is busy and there are only a few shopping days left.
(Note: it’s been my experience, actually, that the closer you get to the actual holiday, the more cheerful shoppers get. I think this is because people who procrastinate, and don’t begin their shopping until Christmas Eve or thereabouts, are just much more mellow. Unlike those of us who plan ahead and make lists and stress out. Maybe next year I should try the other approach? Hmmm.)
So I’m in line, checking my watch, just wanting to get home, and then it’s finally my turn. I step up, and the cashier is just really friendly. Relaxed. She remains relaxed, in fact, even as we hear this CRASH! behind us, from the crystal section. And you just KNOW someone’s knocked a hundred dollar goblet off a shelf, and it’s shattered. But she just smiles, and continues to ring me up, talking about how the weather has just been so nice, hasn’t it? I agreed that it had, even as I, personally, was totally distracted, wondering what was happening behind us. Which is why I would be a terrible seasonal holiday worker: I’d be entirely stressed out, picking up on everyone else’s stress, and the moment I heard something hit the ground like that I’d lose it. Not this woman, though, She was cool as a cuke. I kept thinking if I could apply that kind of grace and serenity to my own work, it would be amazing. No more freaking out over bad writing days, or obsessing over my Amazon ranking (not that I do that, of course), worrying over every little thing happening around me at every moment. Just calmness and a smile, even in the midst of chaos. It really is something to aspire to, especially this time of year.
As I was leaving, I heard another crash, but I did not look back to see whether she was rattled. I just wanted to believe she wasn’t, you know?