In this story my eyes betrayed my feelings to someone before I even knew what I was thinking. It was only after seeing what was revealed in her eyes that I realized my thoughts. I could frame the following exchange with some context – but since this context didn’t occur to me until after the experience, I’m going to tell the story as it happened.
Thursday afternoon I was in the local grocery store of the small community I teach in. I stood at the check-out behind a man with a single item, a bottle of vodka. The cashier rang up the sale, took his cash and asked if he wanted a bag. He picked up his bottle and headed for the door. “I’m guessing that’s a no; you got what you came in for,” she said and looked up at me as I came up to the register.
Our eyes locked for a moment. I’m not sure what I thought about her exchange with the man at the time she said the words but something of how I felt deep inside must have been reflected in my eyes because her look became apologetic.
As I walked out my thoughts finally caught up to what must have appeared in my face: “What right does anyone have to judge a person for what they buy or how they take it out of the store?”
Only later did other factors occur to me. Washington State recently passed a law allowing hard liquor to be sold in grocery stores. Many people aren’t happy with this kind of access. Some stores in our state are also eliminating bags so most people either bring their own or are becoming accustomed to carrying things out in their arms.
It was an exchange that happened in a mere seconds – the cashier’s eyes into mine – but it was memorable, and got me thinking. How about you? Have you had exchanges like that?