Can you bear some change?
January 28, 2010
It was a fruitless exercise, but I was already caught up in the ‘have tos’ and ‘gottas’.
You see there I was, standing at the bakery counter, digging through my purse for some loose change so I could keep my Euro whole that I planned to use later for the shopping cart at the next store (Europe uses coin-operated carts, not bag boys!). My face reddened through the embarrassment and effort, but I was bound and determined to give the woman exact change. She moved on to other customers as I dug some more, fussing over the silliness of it all.
When I finally gathered all the change I needed (which involved going to the car to look for errant pennines under the car mat ~ ridiculous, I know!), I smiled at the bakery clerk. She smiled back in a knowing way, as if she knew the feeling of being stuck in the should’s of life.
The irony? When I got to the car, I had two more coins in the central console that I could have used for the cart, if I had taken a slow moment to look. And when I got to the store, I grabbed a cart whose coin slot was in disrepair, allowing me to use it without the coin I so desperately tried to salvage.
It made me laugh. Some days we get stuck in how things should be. We carefully plan, align our actions with our intentions, and it ends up being a useless exercise.
I wonder what would have happened if I had cheerfully given the bakery clerk the extra change and left it up to God/the Universe to see me through to the next store with or without the proper coin. Most likely I would have saved an extra five minutes and enjoyed the flow that trusting the unknown brings.
Life offers lessons no matter where you are ~ oftentimes they come from the unlikeliest source!