Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sweetie

Hand in hand
*
Yesterday after doing my morning sadhana, I was hungry and, having eaten off most of what I had in the fridge the day before, I decided to walk to the market and stock up.

The market was more alive and colourful than I'd ever seen. The first stall that met me was one with a whole set of large bananas ... some for $3 (a pound), some for $4. I said "Good morning" to the woman behind the stall and stood looking at the bananas, deciding which hand to buy.

The woman said to me: "Which one you want, sweetie?" Her voice was warm and genuine and so was her face, which was noticeably bright and clear.

"Not sure yet," I said.

"Okay, darling." She continued doing whatever she was doing before my arrival.

Eventually I took up a large $4/lb hand (the one in the photo above) and gave it to her. She weighed it, told me the price, with a gentle 'sweetie' tagged on to the end and then ripped off one banana from another hand and added it to mine. Every time she said 'sweetie', she said it so lovingly that I actually felt it soaking through my skin and spreading around inside my body.

I said "Thank you" and tried to put the bananas into the bag I had walked with, but was having some difficulty holding them in one hand and opening the bag with the other.

"Let me help you, baby." Without hesitation, the woman reached out and opened the bag for me so I could slip the bananas in. "Theeeere you go!" she said, beaming and looking straight into my face.

This struck me most, the way she looked at me directly ... because on the way to the market I had passed a woman who looked me in the eye, and before I could acknowledge her eye contact and say good morning (as I would to anyone who made eye contact on my morning walk), she quickly looked away, almost as though embarrassed to look longer or further. I kept walking, thinking to myself something I have often observed and experienced: "Very few women seem to be able to look another woman - especially one they don't know - straight in her face or eyes for a long time. Men do it more easily, maybe because they 'can' ..." (either because they are socialised to believe they are 'more dominant' or because they are openly flirting).

"Gosh, you are so lovely!" I said to the banana woman, genuinely moved by her warmth. "So refreshing!"

She smiled and said "Thank you", looking a bit surprised, but in a pleased way. Even though she was saying 'sweetie' and 'sweet' so many times, it didn't feel or sound overdone because it struck me as being natural and sincere. Obviously that's just how she is.

7 comments:

Resh said...

Smile, this is a refreshing story Spec! So rare these days, lucky you to have experienced such a thing :)

Andreamuse said...

This sort of reminds me of a day I had when I was living in Florida. I went to buy some groceries, and the older lady who was bagging my groceries had finished and I had been given my change and was struggling to gather my bags and put my money way and rush to get out of the way. The lady bagging the groceries just sort of touched my arm and said, "Take your time, sweetheart. Slow down." ANd she said it with such warmth and sincerity that I just felt all glowy. So then I went to Starbucks (like Rituals, hee) to get a coffee drink, and for some reason, the owner of the story was in a great mood and he looked at us in the line and said that ALL coffee orders were "on the house" that day. So I got a free drink worth about $4 US! ;)

Andreamuse said...

oops. "store" not "story" :)

Elspeth said...

If I owned a store I would definitely surprise my customers with unexpected 'gifts' whenever the mood grabbed me.

human being said...

and this post was so refreshing too...
yes just a kind sincere word can change all our day ... and sometimes our life...

liked your observation about the difference between men and women when looking into someone's eyes...

Gary said...

I know a lot of men that are incapable of looking another person in the eye. What you described may be a cultural thing in many countries (including mine), but I would not take it so far as to say it's a natural (genetic or whatever) difference. Primarily it's a question of courage and self-esteem, and here we are why it's a cultural thing!

Elspeth said...

True. It is both cultural and personal.