"Can I get you anything else?" she asked.
"Maybe just a box for the rest of my salad?" I answered with a question that was actually a statement, and even though I know full well that salads get all sad and wilty approximately four minutes after they're declared leftovers. There would be zero chance I would finish this salad later. I could have just as truthfully asked, "Could I have a box so I can pack this up and throw it away in 24-48 hours?"
As she turned to walk back to the kitchen, I noticed the back of her perfect haircut. Straight, shiny, and lavender purple.
"What cute hair she has," I said to Lindsey, my salad date. "You could pull that off."
"What? No way. But you could."
"I couldn't. But thank you."
We were discussing the merits of such a bold commitment when I concluded, "I want to be a person who says compliments out loud. If I think something I want to be the kind of person who says it. I mean, what good does it do if I think it but I don't tell her? Nothing. And what does it cost me to say it out loud? Nothing. I want to be the person who notices. I want to learn people's names as they bag my groceries. Because how great is it to be noticed?"
During my season as a Starbucks barista, especially at the drive-thru window, so often the drivers seemed to treat me like the end of an automated assembly line. Without looking up, they received their drink and drove on. Actually, maybe they were the end of the assembly line.
The young woman reappeared with my box. She placed it on the table and turned to walk away, all without interrupting us.
"Thank you," I called after her. And then, a little louder, "And cute hair!"
She smiled a pretty smile. And it cost me nothing at all.
Be a noticer of the lovely things. And be the one to name them out loud.
~ ~ ~
I'm finishing my fourth book, you guys. I'm in the last days of compiling my final thoughts, ideas, and grace notes. I've climbed the long hill of wondering whether it's any good, doubting my existence, and questioning it all. I'm sailing down the mountain of loving it so much.
As Peter said, "Oh, good. I like this stage so much better."
I cannot wait to show you what I've been working on.
In the meantime, if you see me emerge from the writing cave, please refill my coffee cup. I'll be the frazzled one in yoga pants, a messy bun, and a fresh layer of lip gloss.