Saturday, December 26, 2009

No. 58

1. On the plane to Baltimore-Washington, I fortunate to be sitting behind two gentleman--a smiley Mormon kid in his early-20s, and an aging Jewish man with an admirable beard and calming voice. They got to talking right away, and oh how I wish I had recorded their conversation for NPR. It was one of the most beautiful, curious, open, generous, and kind dialogues I've heard regarding religion. The young man kept asking these excellent questions, and the old man kept answering them in such a warm manner--explaining every word and concept with such a sincere desire to inform. And he kept talking about how he thinks Mormon architecture is so beautiful. By the end of the flight, the young guy said "Next time you're in Salt Lake, look me up--I'll take you out to lunch!"

2. My mom and I were pulling out of a shopping mall when we saw an unfortunate-looking minivan sitting there, the weight of the antediluvian vehicle flopping over its own tires. My mom waved it ahead, and as the van huffed and puffed to pull in front of us, the driver gave us the most exuberant TWO THUMBS UP.

3. Today I was in line at the Post Office, aka the 7th Circle of Hell. The line was long and the store's decor horrifying. The man in front of me had a couple packages to send, much to my chagrin as I had but one measly letter to drop off. When he got up to the counter, I realized that my annoyance was satanic since he was apparently the nicest guy in America. He was kind to the poor post office cashier, cracking bad jokes and asking questions. It was soon apparent that this guy had done nothing right; he bought the wrong postage, forgot a zip code, wrote "priority" when he didn't mean "priority." His trip to the post office was a disaster. And yet, even after the line-waiting, he brushed it off with a "Oh, I'm always forgetting something!" and "You can charge me extra for my mistakes" to the point where I just wanted to buy him some collectors' stamps for his trouble.