Making Things Less Tedious

I had a few errands to run and things to take care of today: getting the plates on my car renewed, groceries, that kind of thing. I was not inspired. But I got my poop in a group and headed out this morning.

As I started to drive up my street, I happened upon The Mayor’s Wife (not the actual mayor, but the busybody we call The Mayor) and her daughter getting the mail. I was feeling a little peevish as I drove towards them; they make me peevish, by nature of their very existence some days. I toyed with the idea of fiddling with the radio or something as I drove past in an effort to NOT see them. But then, I thought, “Screw it.” And I smiled and waved. I don’t know why. I just did.

Then, off to the license bureau. I pulled in and spent a few minutes filling in paperwork in the driver’s seat, then got out and prepared for the wait. As I got to the door, I noticed a woman on the other side of it kind of scurry away. I opened the door and walked in to find the place was empty. The scurrying woman was actually the clerk, who headed back behind the desk, while apologizing for getting in my way. She had been adjusting the blinds in the window against the sunshine. So I walked right up to the counter and began my transaction. I was quite pleased — I’d be in and out in 2 minutes. The clerk was pleasant, but had a thick accent. I had a hard time understanding her. I didn’t care — I was happy to be getting this done so quickly, so I made small talk with her. She seemed pleased — I guess they don’t get a lot of cheerful people in there. I thanked her, wished her a great day, and left.

Next up: the grocery store. I went in with a short list today, so I hoped to be quick, but I was ahead of the game from the quick turnaround getting my plates done. I went to the fish counter. There was a woman there, but she was doing something else, and I was really in no hurry. Her manager was hovering behind her like some sort of nervous bird, and he noticed me, but still the woman worked at her task. Finally he gave her a signal and she came over a bit flustered. But I was in no rush, so as she served me, I chatted a bit about what they had on special, that sort of thing. She seemed relieved that I was not annoyed at being made to wait.

Then I was off to the meat counter. I wanted 2 filets, but the ones they had out were tiny. Sometimes they will cut you new ones, so I asked the young girl working there about it. She rarely works there, so she had to go find someone. So I waited. Off she went, and found the butcher. They talked, and then they both came over. The butcher was gruff and was explaining that this is all they have; they could give me thicker cuts but the size is what it is. I think he was expecting a fight. I agreed, not all cows are created equal. That made him chuckle, and so he started asking about what I was looking for. We got to talking, and he really warmed up, giving me lots of advice, telling me what to look for, and eventually picking me out the best steak of a different cut that he could find. As I left he said, “Now you be sure to come back and tell me how you liked that.” I promised him I would.

Then through the checkout. Slow, tedious, boring. The checkout girl was young, probably a student, so I made a few jokes and she smiled and laughed. When I took my groceries out to the car, I realized I had forgotten something, so I went back in, picked it up and got right back in line. Again, when I got to the checkout, we joked and laughed about it. And then, I came home.

I had to call the lab I’ve been going to and pay a bill, so I got on the phone with them. I got a clerk whose English was quite poor, but I still tried to ask how her day was going, and thanked her for her help when she was done. She seemed genuinely surprised that someone was wishing her a good day. I guess people that pay bills are not usually terribly friendly.

And then I looked at the time. It was 3 pm. My day had just flown by, and all my boring errands were done. It’s amazing how quickly and easily these things get done if you just try to be as pleasant as possible to everyone.