I know I’m supposed to tell you about my trip but ehh. I never do my blog the right way, anyway. Instead I’m going to tell you this:
I met an old lady at the Salvation Army thrift store the other day. She was very sad because their house have been flooded out. She told me all about it. When she got to the desk, she was told (after some confusion; the woman at the desk had a thick Russian accent which hindered everyone’s communication efforts) she was in the wrong area and she needed to actually go to the Salvation Army church, not the thrift store. She left with a phone number crumpled in her hand.
Next came my turn at the desk.
I wanted to buy a little decorative glass jar, but all I had was a twenty. The woman looked at me and said that she couldn’t break a twenty, which left me flummoxed. All I had was… another twenty. Was this too much money for them? Did I really not belong here so badly that my money was actually no good?? For some reason, returning the item did not come into my mind. I stared at her, and stared at the money, and stared at her until the customer next to me said, “That’s okay; I’ll pay for it.” And she did. I gave her a hug.
As the other customer, probably poorer than me, paid for my stupid bauble, the cashier said, “All day, people give me fifties, twenties, fifties, I cannot make you the change.” So that kind of explained it.
As I left, I felt embarrassed, but also very grateful. I was looking at my car when the old lady appeared behind me and said, “Will you give me a ride?” I wanted to pay forward what I had just experienced. I gave her a good looking at: she had a limp, overweight, late sixties at least. I figured I could take her, if it came to that. So I said yes, and she labored into the passenger seat of my car.
As I pulled the car out of the spot, she told me, “I hope you’re not offended, but I see the grace of God upon you.”
It was so unexpected and nicely phrased, it went straight to my head. I laughed prettily. Me? The grace of God? “Thank you,” I said. What else could I say in the face of such high-flying, hallucinatory, kindly old lady compliments? I’m not even religious.
We only drove about six feet before her husband pulled into the lot with his car, so I pulled up close and tried ineffectually to help as she painfully trundled out of my car and into hers.
I started to walk away, a little disappointed that I hadn’t been able to pay forward my good deed. Then I remembered the $20. It had been spared for a reason! I ran back and pressed it into her hand. “If this helps,” I said.
“It does, thank you,” the old lady replied.
I got back into my car and headed out. I felt decidedly wall-eyed after the compliment and the good deed (or was I just paying her for the compliment?), and literally drove 30 minutes in the wrong direction.
Maybe what she was detecting was my low blood sugar. I hadn’t yet eaten that day and my mind was loosely hinged. Old people can sometimes confuse the grace of God and low blood sugar.