The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.

Get In Someone’s Way

Pen at the ready, the old man attempted to fill out his check, clutching the checkbook in one hand and scrawling with the other, so as not to hold up anyone at the register. He had even loitered a bit before finding a checkout line, letting quicker patrons move on ahead. He didn’t like the idea of being in the way.

So he grew anxious when there was only one baton to set between orders, and it already lay in use between the two customers in front of him. He gave a wide berth to the young woman ahead and her collection of beauty supplies.  She seemed to sense his hesitance. When the first lady’s cleaning products had been rung, the young woman moved the baton after her order and shot him a kind smile.

He found himself rambling immediately in reply, “I’m not here very often, but I can never quite see those things. Same color as, as…” The conveyor slipped his mind. He resumed stacking cans of beef ravioli on the belt next to his unsteady tower of Clint Eastwood DVDs.

“No problem at all. I hope enjoy your movies.” She smiled again–not sarcastic, not with a question about his dietary choices.

“Just getting a little something to eat, something to do,” he found himself losing focus on the task at hand. He began smiling instead.

The young woman paid, then grinned back at him once more while collecting her purchases, “Have a nice day!”

As she departed, he did what he had been hoping to avoid–he held up the growing line behind him as he called out, “Okay, I will! I promise.”

-Loveland, Colorado

Clint Eastwood, 44 magnum

9 comments on “Get In Someone’s Way

  1. ramblingsfromamum
    November 20, 2012

    I am glad that the attendant treated him so kindly. Most are impatient with the elderly and that saddens me. “Just getting a little something to eat, something to do,” he found himself losing focus on the task at hand, and smiling instead. I loved these lines, an old man filling in his days with a little food and movies to watch.
    A lovely piece and thank you for visiting me and following and I shall reciprocate. Thank you. 🙂

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      November 20, 2012

      I love the elderly. If I don’t apply myself, I could write only stories about the elderly. 🙂 They are the ones who jump out at me as heartwarming and remarkable.
      Thanks for stopping by and I’ll see you again soon–on your blog or mine. 🙂

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  4. butimbeautiful
    February 25, 2013

    Niceness. Such a simple quality, and I like that you celebrate it.

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      February 26, 2013

      🙂 Thanks so much! Now that I am nice-hunting, it seems to be what I encounter to most! Not too shabby.

  5. thenicethingaboutstrangers
    October 1, 2014

    Reblogged this on The Nice Thing About Strangers and commented:

    Wishing I could chat with the oldsters around here. 🙂

    • Pamela Rice
      October 2, 2014

      I have a feeling their day to day lives would be remarkably similar. World wide the human soul speaks the same language 🙂

  6. Mary Harrell
    October 2, 2014

    I enjoyed this so much. Your writing simply impels one into a tender, clear moment of vulnerability. Your heart is wide open and you take your reader there. Bravo.

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