Feeling Blue[berries]

At the grocery store this week, a woman dropped a box of blueberries.  They went everywhere.  She was too old to pick them up, and people up and down the aisles just stopped and stared.  I just stopped and stared.  Her trembling voice, shouting “Cleanup—I need a cleanup!”  Embarrassed.  Close to tears.  Fucking blueberries.  All of us staring at blueberries.  A two minute pick up job.  Less if others help.  But we don’t.  We just stare, and argue with ourselves.

After a good minute or two of arguing, I deduce that I’m a complete and utter asshole, and put down my basket.  Pick up the blueberries.  Feel like an absolute idiot as my left palm fills and I have no space for all the rest.

Now it’s my trembling voice, weakly shouting “Anyone have a bag?”

People stare.  They keep staring.  The line six carts deep.  Everyone watching.  No one helping until someone does and it’s another woman who grabs the empty box of blueberries.  “Here, use this.”

Thank fucking goodness.

I fill the basket.

Sixty seconds of my time.  Of my day.  The older woman is so grateful.  I’m just upset it took me two minutes to decide to help her out.  Waiting in a line that isn’t moving.  As if I have somewhere important to be.  As if anyone else has somewhere important to be.  Piss off—none of you go to the market when you’re in a rush.

But the other woman says something to me.  The one who gave me the box.  “Don’t lose that kindness,” she says.  “Don’t lose it.  Don’t grow out of it don’t let anyone take it from you.  Hang on to that.  Hang on to being good.”

Blueberries.  I am fucking crying in the market.  Beneath all of those halogen lights.  Of course, I want to tell her that I’m no such thing.  That I watched for minutes, waiting for some other help to come.  That I am tired.  Emotionally crippled from events of the past few weeks that I absolutely can barely get out of bed in the morning and now I am here and now I have to be human and bend down and clean up fucking blueberries.  When I just want to sleep.  I want to tell her that I am the reason that the older woman cried.  I am the reason, there with all the rest of them.

I am sick of friends and family dying.  Of shooters, of suicides.  I am sick of a billion little blueberry bombs on a grocery market floor.  Of an older woman close to tears because no one steps in when we all know we ought to.

I have re-learnt for the thousandth time the most important lesson of my life this week: be kind.  And, if you choose not to be, take responsibility for the results.  Choosing not to react is still a reaction.  Just a poor one.  A piss poor one.

I got pulled over once.  It was late at night, and we were leaving Borderline.  I had had a couple of Coors Light bottles over the course of a few hours, and I got pulled over.

The officer gave me the tests.  It was freezing out, and I was tired.  I didn’t do so hot.  He sat me down to have a talk with me.  “Listen,” he said, “Your BAC is fine and well below the legal limit.  And I know it’s late, and you’re tired.  But your field tests were piss poor.  So do me a favor, go over to that Denny’s over there, have a cup of coffee, and head on home.  And don’t do this shit again.”

Piss poor.  Had he wanted to, legally, he could have pulled me in that night.  Piss poor isn’t a pass.  It’s not a failure either, but it isn’t a pass.  Maybe a C-, maybe a D+.  But when you can be a fucking A, why be anything else.

We are dealing with an epidemic—and that epidemic isn’t mental illness.  It isn’t depression. It’s how we respond to it.  Reconfigure how you see the world.  The problem isn’t those who are hurting; it is how all of us react to them.

Let’s make a collective pact to not leave old ladies crying in a grocery store.  To be a little bit better.  To stop arguing with ourselves for sixty seconds when the problem could already have been solved.  No one walks this road alone.  Don’t pretend you do.  It’s a piss poor attempt at justifying one’s entitlement.  And we can’t stand for it another second more.




57 thoughts on “Feeling Blue[berries]

  1. I can really feel your emotions from your writing; you are absolutely right, even if we have to force ourselves to be kind we should do it. It’s all that matters. This is one of the best posts I have read on the subject – thank you!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. The pop bottle on the sidewalk. The shopping cart left randomly in the parking lot. The man in the nursing home struggling to eat his pudding, spilling it all over the table.

    Do I stop and toss the bottle in the trash? Do I push the cart back to the store, because I’m walking that way anyway? Do I help the man eat his pudding?

    Little decisions. Little consequences. When you picked up the blueberries, you nudged the world a little in the right direction.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I like this. I like very much what you have said here.

      I recently started “de-trashing” the idea of picking up the trash you see. Not some of the time, but every time. We have got to take that responsibility when we have the means to do so.

      Great thoughts. Thank you for your words

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hear, hear. Well said, Shayleene. Apathy and fear is a cultural problem. The interesting thing about helping others is how it lifts our own hearts. Everyone who witnessed the scene was lifted whether or not they realized it. Ripples radiate outward. There is always time for kindness. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    1. My likeminded friend!!! So glad to meet you. I’m glad this speaks to you–it came from a deep place of feeling like there simply isn’t enough of this kindness lingering. Thank you for reblogging. Excited to make more of this goodness in the world beside you ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What might have felt like 2 minutes was most likely shorter. You are amazing, so many people will ignore exactly as you say. You stood up, you participated, you lived. You provided comfort. I work in a grocery store so when I say that your help was invaluable I mean that.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I am glad to hear that. I know customer service is hard—hang in there. I work in the same industry. I like to think of it as a thousand moments every day in which I can make someone’s day that much better. Keep on keeping friend 💕


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  6. This time of year brings out the worst in a lot of people… a consumerism race to acquire, conquer, and fill those shopping carts full of ‘stuff’…. blinders on, selfishness ensues, and sometimes little old ladies and blueberries become casualties of that.

    I’m glad the blueberries, albeit the mess they caused, made some people pause for thought, and re-calibrate their heart to do the right thing.

    “My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” – Dalai Lama

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Jagdish Chandani

    Shay what a wonderful ,thoughtful and loving women you are, Congratulations the
    Woman you helped will never forget this gesture, wish we had more people like you in this world.

    Liked by 3 people

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  11. Shelley

    Thank you to Laura from All The Shoes I Wear – I’m glad to have found your blog via her call out this week. Congrats on finding the kindness deep within yourself and others. It is after all free and available every moment of every day. Admitting that it’s not an easy choice to do so when we’re feeling blue ourselves IS being kind to ourselves. xx

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Well said. It doesn’t take much to make a difference. I believe overall we’re getting better — its just that now the bad people have worse ways to be terrible…


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