Disturbingly Happy

David the Cashier

“How are you doing? Great evening? Is this everything? Do you need batteries? There’s a really good sale and it’s the last day.”

My cashier at the grocery store was the nicest guy. David was his name. An elderly man with a pep in his step and a twinkle in his eye. He had clearly seen some rough seasons throughout his life, but those days clearly weren’t keeping him down. He was helpful, cheerful and trying his absolutely best to make sure I was well taken care of and radiate friendliness through the few moments we had together.

Yet, it annoyed the hell out of me.

Naturally, I didn’t show it. I greeted him friendly and held a nice conversation for a bit as he did his job and I paid for my items before leaving. But in those moments my heart held nothing but contempt and disdain. Who did this guy think he was butting into my self-loathing time? I had been minding my own business and silently yelling to myself in my own head all across the store until this guy showed up and ruined it.

You ever meet those people? The ones that seem were made to interrupt your moment of depression with their bubbly smile and disturbing happiness. On the inside it drives you to an even deeper degree of frustration because their unusual cheeriness brings light to the fact that is the furthest from how you feel in that moment.

Maybe it’s just me.

But then again, perhaps it isn’t.

I felt bad as I left and thought about David for the rest of the evening. David sure seemed to be a great guy and definitely didn’t deserve the silent comments I was shooting his way. Thank God for guys like David — butting in when no one invites them. He doesn’t know but he single handedly pulled me out of the shitty mental place I was in.

He also reminded me I need to actively work on avoiding the inclination to silently beat myself up while outwardly feigning pleasantries. That is a slippery slope. A lonely road. A dangerous yin and yang to flirt with. An old habit young Jake developed that I’m sure will die hard.

But that’s a conversation for another time. One that will require more than this single cup of coffee.


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