My favorite grocery cashier is a bit of a sad sack. Mel is a big guy, very overweight, and he doesn't wear his weight lightly. Every ounce presses down on him, giving him the appearance of someone wearing a bulletproof vest made of cinder blocks.
I try to cheer him up, of course. I am genetically programmed to try and bring cheer to the cheerless. Just ask my sisters. They do it too.
We goof, we joke, we say things that make us chronically misunderstood by the humorless. It is our cross to bear.
Mel and I have developed a pretty good relationship, though, for people who only speak to each other about 45 seconds a week. One time he even told me that talking to me was the nicest thing that had happened to him all day.
(Insert "aw" here).
Tonight he was especially down. I thought that maybe we were high school classmates, so I asked him where he had grown up. Not here, it turned out, but he had lived here for over 15 years.
"But I don't know anybody," he said.
"You should get out more," I chirped.
"My dog doesn't let me," he answered.
So then we had to talk dog for a while. He agreed that Goldie is a great-looking dog (of course I have pictures of my dog in my wallet. Don't you?) He told me about his red pit bull, Allie.
He concluded with: "She's the only thing that keeps me going. The one thing."
I managed to refrain from giving Mel assvice, though. He was in no mood for it. It would have done more harm than good.
But I would have liked to have tell him this: What keeps you going is up to you. No one is going to do the work of finding the things that keep you going. I know that kind of sucks sometimes, but it's actually part of the fun of life. Everything is out there and you have the responsibility and the will to choose what it is going to be that you occupy yourself with.
You have one life. You have lots of choices. Some choices get made for you. How you see it all is all your choice. Enjoy the ride.
In other news, check out this amazing hillside that is covered in multicolored iceplant: