Trader Joe’s just opened last week in Midtown Ventura and the place was a mad house. No question, I wasn’t present, in that spiritual sense. I wasn’t in-the-moment.
My shopping didn’t take long, and fortunately my hyperactivity was slowed by the checkout line. I took a cleansing breath. Felt the humanity that surrounded me. Became aware of the chill of the one quart plastic container of organic carrot juice in my right hand, and was grounded again.
Awakening, coming to my senses, I reflected on the music playing throughout the store; 60’s music. While scurrying through the aisles, thinking only of myself, I had snapped my fingers, sang softly, and had even thrown in a subtle dance step or two, as I grooved to the music of my generation.
But my reclaimed cosmic clarity snapped me out of self-centered indulgence. As Manfred Mann sang Doo Wah Diddy Diddy over the store's Muzak, I realized the suffering of the young TJ’s staff as they toil through their days, serving us while being ground down by the relentless loop of 60’s music.
Carried back in time, I heard my parents’ music, and quickly turned it off. I cringed, knowing that these young people can’t turn it off.
Now at the front of the checkout line, I waved off the disposable bag, and in a very caring tone told my “crew member” that I felt her pain at having to listen, non-stop to her parents’, my generation’s music.
We had a good laugh. She sensed that I was totally present, maybe even hip, and the beat went on.
PS – Note to TJ’s General Management; please don’t take this compassion thing too seriously. Many of us in the last third of our lives, love your music. The kids can take it. And who knows, maybe we old-folks are in a better mood when we greet our “crew member” at check out.