The Adventure Continues…
What I Found at the Grocery Store
“You can only walk through your own fire and not the fire of another, even if it means walking away from ‘them’. When you stop playing the part to earn love, you begin to love yourself through your inner spirit and awaken the true fire behind your ego, personality, mask and the addiction to fit in. YOU NEVER HAVE TO EARN LOVE.”
Sunday was a Jeremiah-day. One of those damn days where sadness kicks this grievin’ momma’s ass. Loneliness swallowed me whole and spit me out like the welcoming committee of New Mexico. And, the lady at the grocery store was the icing on the cake. Yeah, I’ll get to her in a moment.
I began composing the draft of this week’s installment when I read some people will never like you because your spirit irritates their demons on an Instagram meme. I have no idea who penned this, but they should consider themselves bear hugged.
I arrived in New Mexico a week ago Tuesday at 8:53 am after driving four and a half hours from some place in Texas. The visitor’s center at the campground was closed. The sign at the entrance instructed me to 1. complete all information on the envelope, 2. put cash or check in envelope, 3. remove blah blah blah, 4. display blah blah blah… Cash? Check? What? No space for a credit card number? Shit. I got maybe two or three dollars worth of coins in the center console for tolls, and possibly two dollars worth of quarters left over from the last time I got change to wash laundry. I didn’t bring enough cash to buy the annual pass and/or pay the nightly fee.
So what does one do when the visitor’s center is closed, there are no camp hosts anxiously waiting for my arrival because they’re out doing what camp hosts do? Well, I called the 1-800-number on a website Google provided. The young woman rushed through, “New Mexico State Park” in an irritated tone that I had to confirm I was calling the right place. I won’t bore you with the details of the phone call, other than to share that there are thirty-four state parks in New Mexico and I had to ask my questions several times. She was annoyed to hold a conversation with me, and I was getting frustrated at her unwillingness to assist me. As I was thanking her for her time and that I would find my answers some other way, she hung up on me. Yep. The young woman was obviously not interested in helping me find a solution to my problem. A moment after I set my phone down, and doing everything I could not to whip it out the window, a woman walking her dog approached the half-opened passenger window, and asked, “Have you been helped yet?” Still upset, I snipped, “Nope.”
She walked around the front of my truck to the driver’s window and introduced herself as Mary, one of the camp hosts. I began our conversation with an apology for being upset. As I started to share with her the content of the phone call, her husband walked up, and she stated, “Hey, Al. Someone hung up on her.” Again, I started the conversation stating, “I’m sorry to take out my frustrations on you, but…” And, the Park Superintendent pulled up to check if everything was okay. Now, not only am I feeling frustrated that the woman hung up the phone on me, now I’m feeling very embarrassed to be the center of attention with a crowd at my truck. Joe, the State Park Superintendent asked the same question Al and Mary did, “What number did you call?”
Within our discussion we determined the phone number I called was to a third party and not a part of the New Mexico State Park system. Mary, Al and Joe welcomed me and respectfully answered all my questions. Together we worked out the best solution for all of us.
And then, I went to the grocery store.
On this journey, the one consistent place I witness people connecting with others most genuinely is at the grocery stores. When I go to a place of business, the person before me is “on” and behaving to the best of their customer service skills. Often they are hiding what they really feel, restricted from saying what they really want to dish out, or burring the stress of just getting yelled at by a co-worker, boss or customer. At the grocery store, people are able to relax and connect with each other just as they are. I saw courteous respect towards each other in every Texas grocery store I entered. It served as a reminder to me that people all want peace, love and joy. And, those elements are the heartbeat of hope.
As I stood in front of end cap to the aisle of whiskey and vodka debating whether or not to purchase my first bottle of booze on this trip, an older lady rammed my shopping cart to get me move out of her way. Mind you, there was plenty of room to go around where I was standing. But, she made it clear I was in her way to the avocados. My automatic response of “oh, excuse me” was greeted with a dirty, get-the-fuck-out-of-my-way-you-bitch look. No exaggeration on her facial expression. This seventy-something year old woman did not want me in her space. It didn’t take me long to realize everyone in the store was in their own bubble, not smiling or saying the casual excuse me as they walk in front of the other person deciding which spaghetti sauce to purchase from across the aisle while blocking the pickles behind them. No one said hi to the staff. The staff kept to themselves and didn’t acknowledge customers pushing shopping carts past them. Where the hell am I land?
This is the first area on my journey have I felt unwelcomed on multiple levels. My initial plan to stay a week to explore the area declined to three nights. I had a video meeting with a virtual assistant client scheduled for the next day and WordPress page tasks to tend to for clients. Exhausted from driving for a day and a half, I simply did not have it in me to get behind the driver’s wheel and haul my home elsewhere.
The host at the campground where I am currently residing (I’m at a second location) is pleasant to speak to and welcoming. Bonus – the condition of the park is considerably better than the online reviews. I feel fortunate that I took the risk to do a drive-though before continuing down the highway and looping back into Texas.
I have yet to visit the grocery store nearby. I have hope that it’s a pleasant experience. After all it is where I run into the people in their authentic, casual, true-to-self state of being. Yes. That’s right. The grocery store. It’s the one of the public spaces we visit before or after work, on our day off and while on vacation. Think about it, who is “on stage” (on their best behavior) while walking up and down the aisles? On this journey, I’ve noticed I feel more at ease and comfortable in the locations that people are the most relaxed and courteous when purchasing their food.
I no longer wonder what I did to provoke the young lady to hang up on me and understand the reason the lady rammed my shopping cart at the grocery store. I simply do not resonate with these two women. Okay, truth be said, I’m still working on not taking it personally, but… some people will never like you because your spirit irritates their demons.
Captured moments along the way…
Explore the adventures that got me here…
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