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Monday, April 11, 2011

Waiting in Line for Life

I recently went to a nearby fast food joint for a quick lunch of chili and a diet soda, tenaciously avoiding the delectable, but deadly, cheeseburger and fries. While I was in line waiting to order my skinny girl feast I noticed a man in front of me who looked to be about my age but with a little more wear. His hair was salt and sunshine blond, loosely pulled back into a ponytail, allowing a crop of stray hairs to halo his tanned face. His eyes were friendly, and when he smiled the wrinkles around his eyes joined in, giving him a good natured weathered look, like he could have been the wise captain of a great ship.

We chatted as people do when they are stuck in a line together. He spoke about the headaches of cell phones. His had fallen into his swimming pool and he ended up paying a king's ransom to replace it. He showed me his new phone like an adoring father sharing photos of his first born.

Gathering my food, I found an empty booth by the window and settled in. Soon the captain was at my table asking if I minded if he joined me. Not vibing any “stranger danger” I welcomed his offer. We chatted on about a thousand little random things at once. There was anticipation in his voice when he spoke, and I could tell he enjoyed telling his story, and perhaps hadn't had the opportunity to do so in a very long time. We took turns bantering back and forth in a charged ping pongy sort of way.
After nearly an hour of verbal purging a comfortable silence replaced our electrified chatter. We had both vented and now it was time to move on.

It was nice to meet the captain (We never did exchange names) and find out about his world. I knew I would only be with him for this one hour and then he would be gone forever. This created a sense of satisfaction for me. I could enjoy this stranger’s company without any strings attached. I would never have to get to know what his issues were, or give him time to piss me off. I would be oblivious to the date of his birthday or what foods he was allergic too. I was free to explore who he was at that moment and then let him go. However, when I watched him walk away I felt a pinch of sadness too, because in that short hour we had formed a bond. It wasn’t a strong bond, like between best friends, it was more of a common bond between two sojourners on a journey; two souls making there way through a crowded world in search of a listening ear and perhaps a dash of understanding. It was just an ordinary moment that had somehow enriched my life, and I’m so glad that I took the time to enjoy it.


PJ Stuart said...

I really appreciate your ability to enjoy the 'simple' things in life. I am such an overly complicated person by nature and would have blown this dude off in an instant. After all, I have IMPORTANT things to contemplate, plan and excecute! Honestly, you made me realize I need to slow down, smell the 'french fries' and give myself a kick in the self-important rear end! Nice work, Leah. I apprecite your perspective as much as I do your writing abilty. Your biggest fan, PJ Stuart

Cheryl said...

There are a couple of interesting things about this post, Leah.
1. This is really rare (at least for me) that a man chats comfortably with a stranger over a meal. I travel a lot and chatty cathy that I am, I talk a lot to strangers. Usually, it is women that will sit by women "at a table". In my experience, men talk over their computers in seated areas such as airports. You must have a very approachable vibe.

2. I am also doing a post about talking in lines but mine is a whole different angle. I am holding out for an appropriate picture of a good line. I thought I had one and realized I didn't have my Iphone on me. Damn. It's funny how often our post ideas have a similar yet different theme.

Have a great week.

PS If you ever make a grab button for your blog let me know. I have you on my blog roll but would love to have a button for you.

Leah Griffith said...

Hey Peeje! Thanks girl. If he hadn't spoken to me in line and softened me up a bit I would have blown him off too. You crack me up "self-important rear end." LOL!!!

Leah Griffith said...

Hey Cheryl, we do tend to run along the same pun intended. *grin
If the Captain and I hadn’t started chatting in line I doubt I would have welcomed him at my table.
I don’t know what a grab button is or how to do anything on here but post. I need a “Blogging for Dummies” booklet. I would love to add some other people’s blogs too. Do you know of any sites that walk you through the fundamentals? Thanks for your thoughtful post Cheryl. This is actually an older blog but I re-posted it because I’m on vacation with my daughter & granddaughter so I’m very very busy having fun.

Cheryl said...

Hi Leah, Continue having fun. I am going to have guests next week and will be running some "reruns". After you are back in blogging mode, email me. My direct email is on my blog.I did buy the "Blogging for Dummies" and have read it from cover to cover. Talk to you soon.

Healing Morning said...

This happens to me fairly often. I'm not sure if it's because I exude a friendly vibe to people, or if it's just meant to occur. I always look more deeply at seemingly "random" interactions of this nature, and upon deeper perusal, I usually find that there is always a strong purpose in those random meetings. Some message is delivered that one or both parties needed to deliver or receive. I liken these instances to "Angels Unaware" moments. (And I don't say this as a Bible thumping comment, btw.) I learned from an early age that "accident" is merely a word, not a true happening, because it is always all in perfect order...these moments we experience. And on that note, I feel a blog coming on! ;-)


~ Dawn

Leah Griffith said...

Dawn, I have to agree with you here. I believe an impartation takes place…a taking and giving of some type of gift; maybe a word spoken in due season that unlocks a mystery of the heart. I love these moments. Sometimes I am clueless as to what took place, other than a nice conversation, and other times the meaning is as obvious as the sunrise.

Debbie Maxwell Allen said...

Love your descriptions, Leah! Really beautiful.


Leah Griffith said...

Thank you Debbie. I've been a closet writer for some time now and it wasn't until recently that I called myself a writer....out loud. I have written a novel and am now seeking representation...what a nerve racking journey! LOL!
Your blog is great...lots of info! Thank you for your kind post.

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