People

Last night at the grocery store the second customer ahead of me in the check out line said she only came to the store to pick up milk. She spent $422 including $80 for cigarettes. On the way out to our truck my husband asked me, “How much was that lady’s bill?” and I told him and he said that was what he thought and, “she only went in for milk??” and he said he’s glad he’s not married to her. Well, so am I! I said something about impulse control problems, maybe?

I told him she reminded me of a lady who was ahead of us at the store a few weeks ago. This lady had a stack of coupons. Not 10 or 15, but a LOT. Her bill was $200-something after all the coupons were taken off. The ticket was several feet longer than I am tall. The checker kept folding and folding as she gathered it up to give it to her. And the lady was telling us about good deals she got on shirts for her husband and other things, too, just a few days before. I wondered if her husband needed all those shirts and if you could even walk through her house. I wondered if she was really happy. Really.

We went to a hobby store after the grocery store and on the parking lot a man in a small pick up truck drove up and asked if we had “just a few dollars.” He said he just gassed up his truck and spent nearly all his money on gas and then he saw that he needs a new radiator hose really bad. The one he had wouldn’t make it to where he said he was going. He said the hose costs $10 and he only had $4. A lot of thoughts were going through my head all at once. I could see both his hands and if he was going to try to rob me he’d have to reach down to grab a gun, I have the advantage because I’m not confined by being in a truck and I could run, his truck wasn’t in the greatest shape and may need more than just a hose, the place is crawling with cops in unmarked vehicles and on rooftops watching for people who are breaking into cars to steal purses and packages, if they see him driving around asking people for money he’s gonna’ have a bigger problem. And of course, I wondered if the story was true, especially since he seemed a bit shaky. I didn’t know if he needed a radiator hose or drug rehab. I gave him some money and it was a little more than enough for what he said he needed and as he was saying thank you and Merry Christmas and everything I thought he was going to cry.

Maybe the man doesn’t have a drug problem. Maybe he is married to someone like the first two ladies who spends every dime they have and then some. Or maybe both and that’s his excuse for doing drugs. I just wonder though. We really have to be aware of what we think and feel and how we try to make things inside of us feel better. And if any of us looks down on people we see who aren’t handling things very well – well, we are just forgetting how similar we all really are deep down.

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