I got called off of work today, and was a little bitter about it. Lisa came home and I walked up to the market for milk. There was, as always, some idiot in front of me buying seven thousand candy bars with her EBT food-stamp card. I was in a foul mood standing there with my purchase, waiting to set down my two freaking dollars and go home, and the woman behind me said, "How you doin' today?" I assumed she was talking to someone else in the store until she came around my left side and repeated herself with eye contact, verbatim, with the exact same cadence: "How you doin' today?" I was a little taken aback, and then answered, "Very well, you?" She said she was well too. So all is well.
What she probably doesn't know, though, is that this turned my whole day around. when I left for the store I was a much maligned proletariat denied a day's work and forced to spend more on milk. I had to put up with the riff-raff of the neighborhood in front of me in line and was feeling surly about everything. As soon as this woman asked me how I was, though, I thought for half a second and said "very well, you?" I guess I hadn't thought about it, but in the grand scheme my life is pretty decent, and I'm lucky that the worst thing I can complain about is some trashy shit in front of me buying junk food using state funds. That's really not that bad. That's just living in this neighborhood. So when she asked that innocent question (twice), she brought to my attention the fact that I really am, in fact, quite well. I could gripe, but overall things are pretty okay. I assume that's what she meant when she replied with the same answer - she's probably got a mortgage or rent payment she's worried about, and maybe the house next door is vacant and haven to unsavories, but damnit, she lives here and cares about who else does. She genuinely wanted to know if I was doing alright, and genuinely wanted me to know that she was too.
So thank you, Quick Stop lady, for some much needed perspective on my day. I am very well, thank you, and I hope you can say the same. Let's do this again sometime soon.