"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.
Tricia, I too enjoy reading your posts and your books . Excited to read your new one when it’s out! I try to compliment people when I can or say hello to strangers and smile.
I am the kind of person who doles out compliments to strangers the same way I would praise to my son. Occasionally I just get weird, rude looks back, but most of the time I get a smile and the start of a conversation. Sometimes it's just a quick, surprised smile, and sometimes, the person starts crying and telling me there story. Often you can see in the eyes of others how hard their day is, and especially if you are at a restaurant, or waiting in line to check out at a grocery store, and watch others be rude to the service professional, I take time while I pay to let the person know how much I appreciate that they are there, doing there job, a thankless job, and that they can turn to me, the next customer, and keep on doing it, no matter the circumstances. We all screw up, and we all need someone to tell us "cute hair!" on a day we feel like a hot mess! Someone acknowledging us, however briefly, can mean so much. You never know if someone has anyone in their lives who does that. I have tended toward positivity my whole life, and even in the times life has made me the most bitter and angry, God pops up reminders to help show me, and then help me share with others, the kind of love he loves us with, and that we should love others with. This is the verse I have been echoing to friends, family members, church members this year, from Zephaniah 3:17 "The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing." If God loves me with the kind of love that he is singing lullabies over me like I do to my son??? And I KNOW he loves me and my son and my mom and that waitress FAR better than I ever could any of us, especially that he loves me better than I ever could...who am I to doubt that they or I should be treated with that kind of love?
Thanks, Tricia, for your way with words that keep spurring me back to my dream to write my stories. <3, Debbie.
I love to notice and compliment. Part is the hairdresser in me, which never seems to leave.
I also love an honest kindness from someone else..a couple college girls told me how much they loved my plain, non-designer purse..”where did you get it, what brand, yada ya”. I had been contemplating retirement for it, but immediately wore it with pride. You are so correct. The power of notice and saying so. You go girl! Excited for your new words.
Another lovely post. I take your post to heart and have for years. My father told me a long time ago that “people love the sound of their own name.” I am one person and I can make that other one person feel noticed for just that moment. I can make a difference.
Great news! I'm looking forward to reading your new book, Tricia. I adore everything you write, girlfriend!