Friday, May 18, 2012

The gift of laughter

1:56 p.m. Today's project was to put gas in my Jeep, so I went to the Shell station on Alessandro, where I can get a 10 cents/gallon discount for my grocery spending at Ralphs. Nothing out of the ordinary, just getting ready for my weekend driving.

The station was crowded for 11:30 on a weekday, probably with other Ralphs shoppers, desperate, like me, for any break whatsoever on a few gallons of regular! You have to understand the station's layout. Each lane has only one pump on each side, so I pulled up behind a white compact car and awited my turn.

The driver wasn't hooked up to a gas pump while he was cleaning his windshield, and being me, I impatiently considered moving to another pump. But the other lanes were full, and realistically, how long should it take to run a squeegee over the windshield? Come to think of it, did he need to block the only avaialble gas pump if he was finished with it? Or wouldn't you have cleaned your windshield while the gas was flowing to make best use of your time? Shouldn't have asked myself those questions.

This young man painstakingly dipped the squeegee, smiling pleasantly, carefully doing one section of the window. He was oblivious to the need for speed, being considerate, or any protcol for "moving things along" when others are behind you, that our society has established. Something about him made me just sit with a neutral expression and attempt to cope. (Which was probably what I needed, God knows each of us that well)!

As the windshield cleaning proceeded, I glanced over to the next lane, and an amused lady outside pumping her own gas grinned and shrugged her shoulders at me in comically exaggerated sympathy, which just made me start laughing to the point of tears. The Lord used that lady to show me there was nothing to be angry about, just go with the moment. The squeegee process didn't speed up, so I left my car and went inside to pay, which you have to do to get your discount, walking at a pretty leisurely pace. The conscientious car owner looked up at me and smiled as I went by. He had not a care in the world. (Wish I could say the same)!

Now at the checkout inside, the regular attendant was training a new gal, so at every step of my transaction she was telling her how she performed the action. Since I was officially in no hurry at this point, I didn't mind. Then it was my turn to hold up a line, because the attendant not only had to pre-figure my discount, but I had changed my mind about whether to use debit or credit. I told the tense lady behind me "sorry!"and put my card in quickly to get the deal done.

But for the lady behind me, the straw that broke the camel's back was that the real attendant had to carefully explain to the trainee what she'd done to change my transaction, and how to put in a reason code. The lady behind me muttered nastily in reference to the trainer, "You've got to be kidding..." so I said, "That was my fault. I didn't make my selection fast enough." The attendant never paid the irritated woman any mind, kept her focus and accomplished her training goal, good job! Our friendly winshield cleaner had left, and then I finally got my turn to use the gas pump.

The verse I immediately thought of was Proverbs 17:22a,

A merry heart does good like a medicine,

but then I thought of verses just as applicable to today's situation. Proverbs 16:32:

He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.

And the ulitmate, the Golden Rule from the lips of Jesus Himself, Luke 6:31 (NLT):

Do to others as you would like them to do to you.

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