Why does it seem like in today's society being kind is a chore and not inherent? I was walking through a grocery store recently, just out running a few weekly errands. I filled my buggy shopping for a bit from each aisle. As I approached the pasta aisle, looking across the several brands and varieties to choose from . . . it just happened that two young women were standing in front of the item I needed. One young lady was in a mobilized chair and it was clear it might take a bit more room and time. No problem. I was sure not to rush them. I stood for a good bit as the gals chit chatted . . . trying not to disrupt their conversation. After a few, I politely asked if I might be able to slip in and grab a box of noodles quickly.
I was met with a foul look as if I had just asked to borrow money or for their first born child.
Neither of them responded or made an attempt to move, just a scowl and an eye roll. When it became obvious they weren’t going to move, I decided it best to just move on. I couldn't even get my cart around them though, so I went back the way I came and forgot the pasta.
I do not like conflict and will do what is necessary to avoid it.
As you can imagine, I was less than thrilled to run back into them in the produce aisle. At least there was plenty of room to get around them. I was determined not to let it ruin my day anymore than it already had. As I walked by, they laughed and one said to the other in the most vulgar language “I don't move for no skinny white girl.”
I tried to make excuses for their behavior in my own mind. Did they just have a really bad day and were taking it out on an unsuspecting stranger? Maybe. The truth was I was having a really bad day myself. On the way to the store I had gotten a call that an old friend had passed away after a tragic accident. We had lost touch but as I was waiting patiently for them to pick their item and move from the pasta, I was thinking to myself of my friend and how he still had young children. Thinking of how his wife and parents were coping with their loss. As I politely asked them to move, I purposely mustered a smile and masked the swelling lump in my throat trying to hold back the tears as to not let my sadness affect someone else's presumably happy day.
At what point did people stop doing that for each other? Not letting our bad, mad or sad mood impact the people around us? Especially strangers. At what point did some become so immune to the feelings of others that they find it acceptable to curse and laugh at someone for no reason other than to be rude, cruel and unkind?
I think there are many people in today's society who need reminding that death has no discrimination and neither should life.
We all have highs and lows. Some certainly more than others, but we are all just trying to make it. It truly isn't that hard to just be kind.
This encounter left me thinking . . . being kind should be inherent but when it is not, those are the days we must make a conscious decision to be kind to others, even if we're having a bad day ourselves. You never know what someone else may be going through. It also left me thinking . . . some people are just plain jerks!
For me, I choose kindness.
I read something not too long ago that hit home for me.
“There were times I’d put $10 worth of gas in my tank and other times $50. I’ve had $5 to just feed myself and I’ve also had $200 to go out to eat. I’ve had a house full of food and I didn’t have any. I’ve been in stores cashing out with no worries and I’ve also had to add it up and put things back on the shelf. I’ve paid my bills in full and I’ve had to pay them late too. I’ve given money and I too have had to ask for it. Be humble, we all have our struggles.”- Author unknown.
Until next week, stay safe, stay healthy and remember we're all in this together.
Upcoming events . . . .
Crawfordsville District Public Library’s Monarch Migration is today at 6 p.m. This event is online and presented by Stephanie Morrisette. Learn how the Monarch got its name and what makes it so incredible! You'll discover the science of how these butterflies endure the generational migration each year, and how we can do our part to encourage Monarchs to keep visiting our milkweed. We'll also talk about doing our part as Citizen Scientists to observe and share information on the importance of this threatened butterfly.

Stacey Baschwit works at The Paper of Montgomery County, along with her many other duties, and writes a weekly column about the people, places and events that make up her world.