There was a sample station at the end of the grocery isle. Mia was my shopping companion that day. My seven-year-old daughter spotted the table straight away. “Can we try it?” She asked.
“Yes.” I said.
But I hesitated. I stood still and observed. A tall man stood behind the tall table draped in a long black cloth. A spread of deli meats, cheeses and pretzels with hummus decorated the table’s top. I recognized a woman from our complex, the one who always wears a baseball cap, chatting to other consumers with delight. More people approached the table and I came to the conclusion, it was best to wait.
“But let’s come back when there’s not so many people.” I suggested.
“Yeah.” Mia agreed.
But she had more to say…
“That lady is just standing there, babbling to everyone, trying everything, telling them, ‘This is good. Try this one.'” She explained with hand gestures and the disapproval of her head.
I probably should have said something like, “That lady is our neighbor and she’s enjoying herself.” Or, “Patiently await your turn without putting down others who are receiving.”
Something motherly and wise. But instead, I laughed.
We are accustomed to step up to the table, take a bite, say ‘thank you’ and walk away. So in Mia’s defense, our neighbor wasn’t abiding by typical tasting station procedures.
When we returned, the table was cleared of consumers. We enjoyed a piece of turkey pastrami, said ‘thank you’ and walked away satisfied. It was really good. You should try some.
The next day, I spotted another neighbor of ours driving and it completely baffled me. I waited to make a U-turn as she turned left in front of me. She was headed in the same direction I intended to follow.
She is a petite older woman with short brown hair and bangs. I only ever see her out walking her dog, a petite black and white Shih Tzu with a similar hair cut. The dog wears a pink cloth harness and, if I remember correctly, has a sweet girly name like Penny or Maggie.
She drives? I thought.
Where is she going? Where is her dog? Who’s walking the dog?
It were as though she only existed in this repetitive groundhog day reel of walking her dog. But, no! She does other things! She goes other places! How did I not realize this before?
Watching her drive away from the only reality I’ve known, awakened me.
Life is constantly telling me, There is so much happening that you are unaware of. There are whole worlds of living organisms, people and places, realities I’ll never know. The neighbors have lives. They still exist away from here, outside of the complex which connects us.