"I haven't seen you around" she said.
I smiled and nodded. "Long time no see. How are you?"
"Doing well, doing well" she replied. "But, family issues ..."
"A mother who is 82, and an aunt who is 92" she added. And then she leaned over and lowered her tone to say "mom is not all there. Goofy."
Life is tough. When we see somebody, we have no idea about what they might be juggling in their lives.
"How are you?" she asked.
"Compared to what you just said, there's nothing for me to complain about" I replied.
Meaningful interactions with people--even at the checkout counters--help me calibrate my own life. To the people who engage with me, well, they probably have no idea how much they are helping me understand my own life and what it means to be human. I owe all of them way more than I can ever pay.
"You off in the summer?" she asked.
She is about my age, working as a grocery store clerk, caring for two older women. Against such a background, the summer months for which I don't get paid seems like a decadent life that Louis lived at Versailles. I have no idea how the super-rich do not seem to have any qualms over the everyday struggles of people like her. It is beyond my wildest imagination how they resist paying their fair share in order to help fellow-humans who are integral to the very society in which we live. If we prick them, do they not bleed?
I deflected her question, out of guilt over my abundantly rich life. "The term is not over yet. Couple more weeks to go" I truthfully replied.
If only I could feel a tad less guilty when I do not even have to feel guilty!