Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Not going postal at the grocery store

"Hey, I haven't seen you for a while," I told her as I started placing the groceries on the belt.

"I have been taking a few vacation days here and there."

She looked at me and smiled.  And then continued with "I needed those days. For my own mental health."

"Yes, we all do" I added.

The truth is I have no idea about her life and the stresses.  I know about one stress, which is more than what I can handle if I were to face such a situation.  All said and done, despite the crappy people that I run into, I have always known that I have a pretty darn good life.  It is because I am a mere mortal, and not a Buddha, that I, too, like most of my kind, like to complain about this and that.

"So, all good now?" I asked her.  To some extent, it was a defensive mechanism by asking her whether she was doing well. Because, if I asked her about the problems that were stressing out, I know that I will get jolted.  I am a wuss.  A big time wuss.

"Oh yeah, much better" she said as she laughed a hearty laugh.

That laughter provided me with the opening that I needed to thread in comic relief.  After all, it is not only the place for small talk but also that I can easily get amused.

"So, you won't go postal on me then?"  I grinned.  Well, I hope that she was able to decipher from my expression that I was grinning and not clenching my teeth ;)

Apparently that was exactly what she needed.  She rolled with it.  "I can see it now.  "Grocery store cashier goes postal."  Oh, I need to tell Lena this."

I wondered who Lena was.  Lena couldn't be the cause of her stress is all I could infer.

As she punched the last of the keys to complete the transaction, she pointed to the mung beans that I had purchased.  "How do you cook them?"

"With onions and tomatoes."

"All together?"

"Oh not that way.  I boil the beans until they are about three-quarters done.  Meanwhile I sauté the onions and tomatoes with spices.  And then I dump the beans into the party and let them have a good time."

"No meat or anything?"

"Nope.  This is a wonderful source of proteins by itself."

"I should try it sometime" she said.

"Good to see you" I told her as I carried my bag to the car.

I am tempted to go there after I cook it and give her a sample to taste.  I can only think that it will ease her stress.  But then there are others at the store with whom I have developed a "checkout relationship," and they have their own problems as well.  Handing out samples to all of them as I walk about in the store seems odd, very odd!  Thus, I will do the next best thing: I wish them all well.

I made this dish today:
with potato, red bell pepper, edamame, ginger, and coconut milk


Anne in Salem said...

I'm inviting myself for dinner next month.

Any action you take that shows you care - for example, remembering her grandson - helps her or anyone who feels stress. Such a small interaction reassures her that she has value, which is a most basic human need.

Those with faith can go one step beyond wishing them all well, and that is praying for others. Prayer is a powerful tool in our arsenal, and it works.

Sriram Khé said...

Of course, let me know in advance and if our schedules are compatible, then we can break that proverbial bread together.

Yes, the older we get, the more we begin to value such things in life.

Anne in Salem said...

Etymology lesson from the homily early this month: companion translates roughly to "with bread" (com/cum pan). Well chosen word.

Ramesh said...

I am not inviting myself to dinner next month (no soylent on the menu, alas). I am however inviting myself to a trip to the store.

Yes, every simple action that shows you care is a massive support to a person under deep stress. In moments of stress, the need for a kind word or deed magnifies manifold.

Whatever going postal means (yeah yeah, I am a tubelight)....

Anne in Salem said...

Ramesh, there were several incidents involving disgruntled postal workers shooting coworkers. Any worker-involved shooting is now referred to as "going postal."

What is a tubelight?

Sriram Khé said...

When I head to India the next time, maybe I should take Soylent as a gift for Ramesh ... force feed that to him and then blog about it ;)

Ramesh said...

Anne - A tubelight is a very Indian phrase (I was returning the compliment for the American phrase going postal !!). It refers to a slow witted person - taken from the fluorescent lamp of old which , when switched on, would flicker and take time to light up.

Shachi said...

I shop at Whole Paycheck....aka Whole Foods...and when I buy exotic ingredients from there which the cashiers don't know about (exotic for them, traditional for me), they always ask me how would I cook them. I took a dish back one time for a cashier - she was bowled over by the simple curry I had made. It was the combination of spices that she could never imagine would come together and taste so good.

Sriram Khé said...

How awesome that you did what you did. Good for you, and good for her.

I was really really tempted to share the dal dish and I even peeked into the store with the idea that if she were there then I would dash home and get some. But, she was not at work.

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