Mondays are typically days I can plan on running errands and staying off the computer and phone (my phone whoring day off). So this morning I rushed out to Marketplace to spend my $10 JCPenny coupon because if I didn't I would have felt like I just wiped my ass with $10. I also had a pair of pants to return to Ann Taylor Loft, where the sales clerk managed to completely piss me off and make me break into a cold sweat (or a hot sweat...I refused to take my wool coat and scarf off because I didn't want to carry them...so I was roasting). She refused to credit my mall gift certificate (which I fucking USED to buy the stupid cuffed jeans. Yes, cuffed jeans) and instead made me take a store credit. And I had a receipt! I stomped out of there like a child and proceeded on to Dicks where I lost my shit in line behind a woman returning a pair of baby poop colored Uggs. Really. How long DOES it take for you to find the credit card you used to purchase those attractive boots?
I hate shopping.
Anyway, I was making my way back to my end of the mall, the end where I parked my car in such a way as to make the quickest getaway possible (I know myself too well), and witnessed two random scenes that put a lump in my throat and made me want to go back and so I was sorry to the Ann Taylor lady. I was so moved that I grabbed my cell phone and called the home phone and left a message to remind myself to blog about it. I could barely get the words out without crying (I quickly deleted it when I got home so Steve didn't have to wonder if I'd finally lost my marbles).
The first was right when I walked out of Dick's and was just gaining speed with my long, purposeful, get-me-the-hell-out-of-here strides when I had to slow down for an older couple holding hands. They were two men, in their late 50's, I presume, and of different races. As I passed them, I glanced back and saw that one was profoundly mentally challenged. They were strolling through the mall, hand in hand, checking out the sights and watching other people. I suppose the "normal" guy was used to second glances. But he seemed oblivious to anyone and held the other mans hand so sweetly that it made me want to stop and hug them both. And buy them ice cream.
The second was only moments later. I was walking much slower by now...and hopefully didn't look quite so bitchy anymore. I wasn't exactly sure which way to go, so I stopped to look at one of those "You Are Here" maps (my quick getaway plan did not account for my poor sense of direction). Right behind the map was the North Pole and Santa was seated at his throne for pictures. Sitting on his knee was a woman who was 95 if she was a day. She had her picture taken, and, hunched over so low her head was near her cane, she was gingerly helped down by a woman in her 50's. The younger of the two quickly told Santa she'd be back, then turned her attention to the little old woman, and brightly told her "You looked beautiful". She slowly lead her back to the line, where three other old women stood waiting. They, too, were waiting to get their pictures taken with Santa.
Oh my God. I wanted to pick them up and put them all on Santa's lap, then take them for ice cream, too. I truly do hate the mall. I hate shopping. I hate the crowds. I hate sweating. But today I was reminded that you don't have to look too far to find the goodness in people. That there are people so willing to be at the service of others, who will endure the madness at the mall during Christmas to help someone far less fortunate enjoy the holidays.
Don't get me wrong. I like to think that I am kind and have a generous spirit. I frequently embarrass Steve by following older folks to their cars with their groceries. I've helped elderly or handicapped people into their cars and taken their carts back the coral. Helping other people does actually make me happy. I try to be a good person. And for some reason the grocery store doesn't bring out the worst in me quite like the mall.
And today I forgot that there are all kinds of people trying to get things done at the mall. People who challenges far exceed my need to get in and out. People who deserve my patience and respect. I was embarrassed with my short temper.
I will avoid the mall (and other places full of shopping crazed people), but if I find myself back in the same situation, I will remember those two angels at Marketplace today. And I will be patient and kind...and patient.
And you must, too.
Oh, and I forgot to mention that before I left I had to go back and eat crow at Ann Taylor. I had $37 of store credit, with no intentions of visiting the mall in the near future, so I wanted to be done with it. First of all, Ann Taylor's clothes are heinous, and secondly, they cost a small fortune. I scrounged up two t-shirty things and found out at the register that I still had $7 dollars to spend. Without thinking, I told the sales clerk that I'd quickly find something else to buy because "I will not be stepping foot back in this store".
I guess you can't go cold turkey on bitch.