The other day while I was running some errands I ended up at Walmart to return some socks I had purchased a week earlier which were about 9 sized too big.
I realize I digress here, but who in the world buys socks that attempt to climb over ones calves and secure themselves nicely in the crack beneath ones knees? I mean, who besides my dead grandfather, likes having socks ride up so high that they could be confused with the stylish leg warmers of the 1980's?
Having made the wrong purchase a week earlier, and discovered the problem early one morning as I dressed in the dark and the socks continued their journey past my heels, my ankles, and my calves, reaching dangerously towards my ticklish knees, I sought to return them.
I took my place as the only person in the chute waiting my turn to explain to some young lady half my age why I didn't love the luxurious feel of encapsulating my calves in some cotton rayon blend, and because I was tired, I leaned against the wall for support.
After some four minutes of waiting, a thirty something mom came to join me in the line with some toys to return and while I appreciated the company I was at first surprised, then shocked, then ticked off when she walked right past me and stood in front of me in the chute.
The Nerve, I thought, of this woman. What am I, chopped liver? And who is she and where does she order her nerve from because there are days and meetings at which I should like to be the keeper of such nerve that I would order it and use it en mass.
So, standing behind her now, watching the young lady behind the counter deal with another customer who had obviously come with her own high dosage of Nerve and was giving her some trouble; (Allow me to interject here some of my vast experience in retail; the customer is rarely right. In fact, the customer is most often not right, but we say that they are right because we want them to come back and spend their money here, at this store. In fact, the louder and more obnoxious they are, the righter they are.)
When the line cleared and the lady in front of me began to move towards the counter, the girl behind the counter looked at me with a helpless look, and in that moment of eye contact I took my opportunity to sweep past the Nerve filled lady and declare in a loud voice, "I have a return to make."
Nerve lady stopped short in surprise and her mouth flapped open as counter girl and I looked back at her. Nerve lady was offended and hurt, and began to sputter "But I was waiting in line, I was the next person in line..."
To which I replied, "That was me leaning against the wall there!" and I turned towards counter girl and got out of the long sock business altogether.
Now, I am not a small man, 6' 3' on a good day, with my weight running a bit over the 200 lb marker. I initially found it hard to think she would miss me. I'm just not that missable, really. I am not saying I shouldn't be missed, but more that its just tough to miss me. How could she actually, really, walk past me, brushing against my coat, actually have missed me?
And I got to thinking as I left with my new short socks, she was probably so distracted with life that she really didn't see me. It wasn't that she had a lifetime supply of nerve to spend in 5 minutes, it was more that she was distracted.Â I mean sometimes I get so distracted with life that I don't remember things told to me, or I don't remember the drive home, or I forget my Spiritual Direction meeting Tuesday morning.
Life can do that to you. You get so overwhelmed that you miss the moment.
That's what I am afraid of for the wedding next week. I don't want to miss the moment and walk past people. I don't want to not see things that I should see and feel and experience. I want to live the days and minutes well, etch them into my memory and hold them there forever.
So I'm trying hard to get into that headspace now, and it's tough, really.
But I have a week left.
Only one week.
I might need some nerve yet...