I really wanted chicken and noodles last night. You know... the super-tasty -perfect-for winter dish that has the really good, thick noodles? I could have been very industrious and made the noodles homemade, but why do that when the Devils Playground has the frozen (and just as good) kind for $1.78? I needed dog food anyway, so off to the store I went.
I was in the spice aisle looking for onion powder when I heard someone say "Do you know anything about buying pepper?" I turned around and there was this little old man talking to me. He was holding one of those tins of black pepper and looked absolutely confused. I asked him what kind of pepper he was looking for and what kind of pepper dispenser he had. He said he wanted regular pepper that you use with a regular shaker. He then went on to say that his wife died 4 years ago and the she always bought the pepper. I told him sorry for his loss and that the pepper he had in his hand is exactly the kind of pepper he needed for a regular shaker. The man then asked me if I knew where the mayonnaise was and I told him aisle 4 with the salad dressing. He said thank you very much for the help with the pepper then made his way to aisle 4.
I have been thinking about this meeting for the past 24 hours. My initial reaction was "How can you not know how to buy pepper?!" Of course I have come up with a million scenarios of what his life with his wife was like. Was he just a jerk who was the bread winner and thought that a woman's place was in the kitchen, so of course she was responsible for the buying of the pepper... or was he just a really nice guy who took great care of his wife and in return, she took care of him and made sure he never wanted for things like pepper?
The quiet and thoughtful pause he gave when he said she used to buy the pepper has ultimately convinced me that he's just a nice guy who misses his wife dearly and would probably give anything to not be at the store asking a total stranger about pepper.
I think life has different ways of reminding you - if you listen - that you should not take things for granted. I truly think this was one of those lessons.