Friday, January 3, 2014

Tobago Peeps: The Best Thing

(I could not find the link to last Monday's article, so will copy and paste here. Photo missing as I am typing on my ipad and the image is elsewhere ...)

THE BEST THING
First on my to-do list: Go to the photography place in Bon Accord to print new flyers for my one-on-one and couples yoga sessions. Minutes later, mission accomplished, I’m happy with the printed result, and head off to get a few more things done.

I go to the small TTPost office in Bon Accord, to post a Christmas gift to someone in Trinidad via TTPak. As I enter, the two women behind the counter greet me with a good morning chorus. Their simple welcome touches me.

A short while after, while I am making a payment at an office in Scarborough, the man attending to me stops what he is doing to reach out and fix the loosening tip of my pen as I write the cheque. Small gesture, memorable impact.

Next, on my way to a meeting in Mt. Irvine, I stop off at the gas station along the highway. While the young male pump attendant fills up my vehicle’s tank, I look at him, wearing his red NP-branded promotional t-shirt and my mind runs with questions. Does he enjoy filling vehicles with gas? Does he meet and interact with interesting people or are most/all drivers simply nameless faces with empty tanks rolling through the station? If it were not for the necessity of money, is this really where he would want to be right now? The final question that pops into my head is the one I ask him aloud: “What is the best thing that happened to you today?”

He pauses, eyes open in momentary surprise, thinks for a moment with a long “hmmmm”, then says: “I woke up this morning.”

“Good one,” I say.

There is a moment of silence as the numbers on the pump roll up toward one hundred dollars. “And what’s the best thing that happened to you today?” he asks me.

I think for a while and remember the light feeling I had that morning upon reading an email from a friend with whom I’d been at University in England. “I heard from a friend that a mutual friend we thought could be dead is actually alive.”

“Wow, now that is great news!” the pump attendant says, looking almost as relieved as if it had been a friend of his.

After a few final words, we part and I proceed to the QuickShoppe to buy a snack to eat on the road. While paying for my purchase, I ask the young female cashier: “What’s the best thing that happened to you today?”

She looks at me for a while without saying anything, then quickly responds: “Ah wake up. I am alive.”

A few hours later, after the Mt. Irvine meeting, I go to the reception area of some villas to deliver one of my newly-printed yoga flyers. Employees in crisp blue uniforms are milling around chatting, perhaps on lunch break. One of them approaches me and asks if she can help. I give her a flyer and ask if she could put it in the activities folder they have for their guests.

“If you give me fourteen I will put one in each villa,” she offers.
Thanking her, I give her the nine extra that I have, then ask: “What’s the best thing that happened to you today?”

She pauses and, after a brief silence, smiles, cocks her head and says in a light, singing tone: “I woke up today!”

“You’re the third person to give me that answer in the past few hours,” I tell her. “Must be a Tobago thing.”

We laugh and part.


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Location:Tobago