Conversations on a Monday

How lucky I am to get to live in a world that there are so many interesting people! I am off of work today and getting some loose ends tied up to begin being back to work. It is too wet to be in the garden so I went off to town.

I started at the best pharmacy ever to pick up the pills that are keeping us alive. I am always grateful to see an especially nice clerk who helps me navigate the medical insurance card in the device. I have seen her let older people than me talk at her about their ailments while they are unaware that the line is building up behind them while she patiently listens and is attentive, but I know she is also aware of the eyes boring down on her from the waiting customers. She remains calm and professional and treats them with kindness, although probably not overly interested in sepsis, cancer, hip replacement talk…or maybe she is. She doesn’t roll her eyes and is patient with the other workers that are not as adept as she is swarming around her asking questions and getting things out of order. She sets them straight in a calm way and carries on.

I wonder about her and it sets me thinking of how she got this way. Did or does she have sick or elderly relatives? Does she have family and friends who have trouble paying the high medical bills and that makes her even more kind to all of us that have chosen that particular pharmacy because they fight to get us our medications at a cost where they can still make a living and everyone gets what they can get for a price not currently available in all pharmacies? Does the owner of the pharmacy have a training program where people are taught how to treat the public even though it is sometimes a terrible thing or is he just good at hiring employees? Did she get molded that way at home with her family? She is not that old, in her late 20’s or early 30’s and I am thinking of my own children and wish to believe they are like that too.

When it is slow there and a line hasn’t formed she asks me questions about what I am doing. Not like, “How is your day?”, but more about what do I do when I am not in the pharmacy. I take it that she has picked up that I was a teacher. She used to think I was a teacher and was surprised when I was in there once during a school day. She has asked me about that. She asked me if I like my healthcare professional and if I would recommend that she go there. Those might seem like that is too personal to ask of a stranger, but it is like she knows me and sees me. Is it because I do that for her? She knows my name from my order, but she does not where a name tag and I don’t know hers, yet it seems like I have known her since she was little. Did I?

She told me where she went this last weekend. It was so nice to be set back when she told me that she went to a garden and tractor show in Illinois. I would have guessed her to be interested in other genres, but that is my flaw. Her boyfriend had purchased vintage tractor magazines and she picked up a great milk crate. They had also gone to Dixon. I had only driven through it years ago on alternate routes to get to college in Nebraska. I know that is where the swimming beach is where former President Reagan was a life guard. Dixon was also his birthplace. She told me about how they had toured the house, how the house was reconstructed as a museum and how that was accomplished. She told me about the origins of the phrase “everything but the kitchen sink” and the word sink as used as a plumbing feature. She even talked about his move to California. She did this all without commenting on politics.

What jarred me the most was my own surprise that a young person was doing anything Reagan as most of the younger people I talk to have little regard for anything Republican. It surprised me that she would be at a tractor show too. How myopic I am! This was not to say that she said one thing about politics or way of life. She was content to just explore.

My own political views have changed over time and through experience. I shock myself at how I view the world now. I think that I had no time to be a thorough thinker of political and religion based topics when I was knee deep in the weeds of motherhood and trying to get it together. I went from rural world to a good college that was only of one world view (not blaming anyone here or the college) and then on to marriage and babies. Maybe people have a little more time now to figure out who they are or what they want to be before they step into a world of diapers and baby snuggles. That was right for me at the time and wouldn’t change it if I could as I would not have what I have now if not for that scenario. No regrets.

It seems like I have been so upset about people pigeon holing all non-urban people that I have joined the pigeon holers… in reverse! I am rural. I was brought up rural. I was brought up with a very one sided view of culture and fought so hard in my head to be more globally minded and have tried to think of how the other parts of the world are that I have sorted the same way. GAHHHH! It is very easy to be a person who sees how the “other” is and then all of a sudden jump that line and then become the “other”. Does anyone get what I am saying here?

When we went drove through an area of all farmland in south-western Wisconsin this past weekend, I noticed ALL the signage that was put out was one-sided in content. Some of the signs were hand painted and very pointed. I told Rick that some of the signs to me seemed mean spirited although I support their right to say it, just wish they would use words without malice. There were only signs of one political persuasion..and I purposefully looked for the other. We discussed why that was and if it was always that way. Then I find myself thinking that a person who goes to a tractor show is one way, and clearly that is ridiculous.

How is that we get so polarized? I don’t think that I am the only one. I don’t think it is even an age thing now that I am at a ripe 60. How can I stay on the track of keeping myself open to hearing all that is before me and really listening without too much bias? I don’t think it is possible to be unbiased in anything, but I do think it is possible to listen to both sides of everything even if it seems contrary to any current thought. Let me be that person who checks herself.

Then I went to the store that sells pool stuff to get my pool filter. Rick had previously been there and had spoken to a young man that I had as a student when I was a sub millions of years ago. He heard Rick’s name and asked if I was related and he remembered me as well as some little fun hand gesture that I taught them to use to focus. I had forgotten that particular thing until he brought it up. How fun is that? He is in his mid 30s now. I went in there today and was pleasantly surprised that he was there to wait on me. After some customers cleared out we had a chance to catch up and I got to hear about his life and his thoughts about work. What a nice man. I had no doubts that he would continue to be a good human. I know his family and he comes from good stock.

Imagine that I had face to face conversations with millennials today when all we hear about is people not being able to hold conversations and then I messaged my friend who is 20+ years older than I am for her pie recipe and she is emailing it to me. Imagine if we all would stop to reconsider how we communicate and appreciate that communication happens and be grateful.

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