Explorations

A Story Everywhere

February 4th, 2008 by afsullivan · 3 Comments

The simple truth of the matter is that people fascinate me.

Today, like every other Monday morning since September, I went grocery shopping at the local Giant for work. Getting a weeks worth of groceries for a family of four, is an affair that normally takes up most of my morning, and today was no different.  Today, like every other Monday morning since September I unloaded my(err… their) groceries at  the checkout in isle 9. Why? Because of Dawn.

Dawn stands just a bit under 6ft, a few days over 50, with untamed dark brown wispy hair well down her backside, and wearing the brightest, pinkest, lipstick you have ever seen. And she’s also the fastest thing Giant has to offer at 10 in the morning(hence the reason I picked her). I have honestly been in Dawn’s checkout line every Monday morning since September, but I don’t think I’ve said more than 10 words to her the entire time I’ve known her.  Of course, we exchange the obligatory, “How’s it going?” or “Do you have a bonus card?” but that pretty much sums the up the boundaries of our shared communication. Until today that is.

Dawn was swiping the groceries of the older woman in front of me and she asked her, “Do you remember the lowest price you ever paid for a loaf of bread?” As the woman searched the recesses of her mind, I stood shocked and looked at the both of them.  At first I was almost upset; this practical stranger had elicited more interest from Dawn in a few moments than I had in months. Then I just watched. The woman rattled off a few prices and then asked Dawn the lowest price she remembers. Dawn with a slight smile said, “Back in New Mexico, I can remember getting 4 loafs for a dollar.” I was thinking about Dawn, my Dawn, my fast cashier, and her life in New Mexico, and ‘how did she end up here?’ and ‘why would anybody want 4 loafs of bread at once?’ In that moment I realized for the first time that Dawn had a story. She had hopes, dreams, fears; she became real to me, more real than our autopilot interactions of the past 6 or so months.

I asked her how she ended up in Virginia from New Mexico.

It was a bold move coming from the “Good and you?” and “Can I just enter my telephone number?” catch-phrase kid.

But we talked. Dawn and I talked. What resonates with me now, more so than our conversation is the simple fact that we connected. My experience today with Dawn served as a simple reminder that everyone has something to say, and perhaps something to teach you. We as artists(or individuals) can never stop learning. It is the single most fundamental and necessary part of our art; we must always find new ideas in people, and learn from them.

And Dawn, she moved out of New Mexico ‘a while back’, but didn’t explain why.  

Tags: Random

3 responses so far ↓

  • Life Is An Interesting Narrative « Loaded Learning // Feb 4th 2008 at 9:35 pm

    […] Lesson , Life , Writing As I was reading through new blog post on the UMWblogs site, I found this one titled “A Story Everywhere”. Right away the title has my attention and at the first line I am […]

  • dweber // Feb 4th 2008 at 11:24 pm

    Sullivan,
    You’re the type of customer I adored getting when I worked at Food Lion. There’s this really cool podcast from “This I Believe” from NPR titled “Learning To Find The Silver Lining.” Its about a woman whose son committed suicide and she learns to talk to everyone trying to discover a little bit about that person just in case they could change her life. (It was her son’s philosophy on life). I like how you’re the type of person that can do that. That can find the interesting in the simple mundane event of grocery shopping.
    love Donna

  • emmak // Feb 5th 2008 at 10:31 pm

    I totally agree with Donna. Like her, I work at Food Lion, and I love when people talk to me (especially cute boys, but that’s beside the point) and ask about things. Most of the time I feel like customers only see me as a means to an end, and couldn’t care less about me as a person. Then again, there are those creepy 80-year-old men who tell me that if they were 20 years younger they’d ask me to marry them…