sometimes my eyes are charmed

I was on the train, last evening, zooming along, staring out the window.
We came up to alongside a station, the music on my iPod was perfectly timed.
As we slide gracefully, and not especially slowly, alongside another train that was stopped, I noticed that one at a time the conductors stepped out of each doorway and waved their hats - in a cadence, in perfect rhythm to what I was hearing - in a cascade of conductors and hats.
I grinned like an idiot for the rest of the ride.

Sometimes a small moment like that will lift me for hours - not that I am sad or depressed. Sometimes spying an infant with sunglasses in a stroller or a woman with just the right outfit or a little boy reciting subway stops is just the thing.

This morning I stopped for an egg sandwich. I think I've written about the truck downstairs. I love the truck downstairs. One can buy breakfast lunch or dinner from a small team of bustling dark-haired fellows. The menu is enormous and yet nothing takes more than a few minutes plus they are a cheerful bunch. So, there I am waiting for my sandwich when I notice that the grill man is signing to the man ahead of me on line. Does he want some coffee? the grill man gestures - in actual sign-language. No, the customers signs, some iced tea.
I don't know why, but I was wonderfully amazed that the grill man knew sign language.
And it all happened in a fleeting moment - a simple transaction that left me grinning.
Then I walked across the street to the cafe for my favorite iced decaf and a woman I observe each day was seated at the counter with a wonderful hat hanging on her back.

Then again, I was at Tiffany, last week, running an errand. I took the elevator to the sixth floor.
Tiffany has an elevator man who announces each floor and wears a uniform. An older couple got on just after me and the husband snapped at the elevator man and mocked him. He was a bigot, the husband and my blood started to get hot. I was standing behind the elevator operator but could see his jaw twitch even as he spoke gently to this couple. I wanted to die. I wanted to be out of that tiny space, trapped with someone so rude. The husband continued to gripe. I looked down. I waited for the couple to exit in front of me. I thought quickly and hard about what I could do - how I could show this man that I thought they were awful - but I had to act fast. I figured it out. I took off my sunglasses, I stopped and looked the elevator operator in the eye, I touched his arm and said: thank you.
I didn't stay, I left quickly or I might have cried.
Tiffany is such a silent, cool, softly lit and gentle place. I was glad to have a few minutes to sit and regain my composure before it was my turn at the counter.


unmitigated me said…
That elevator moment? It's hard for me not to speak up at moments like that, but it probably would have just been worse for the operator. After the man left, though, I probably would have said, "What an ass," and congratulated the operator on maintaining his composure.
Anonymous said…
Of course the bigot was in Tiffany's, not on the subway or waiting in line at The Truck. Where else to find assholes but in the chi-chi-est store in Manhattan?

You have encapsulated a huge secret of life in this post: happiness is where you find it, and life is a series of moments. You rock!
Anonymous said…
Oh Bb.
Thank YOU.
Anonymous said…
I wish I had an errand at Tiffany.

What usually makes me tear up are the nice things that people do. I think I would have been bawling as I stepped out of that elevator.

Also, there is nothing nicer than when life seems like a choreographed musical.

jo said…
Living in an upscale pretentious town and knowing how it is to work on the other side of the counter I make a point to be exceptionally nice to the staff at all my local haunts, even when, no especially when, the witch with the giant purse and the bling treats them like poo.
Good on you bb, I'm sure he understood your message. I also want to know *how* you knew he said Iced tea? A secret skill we don't know about?
Lover Lady said…
Some many people seem to forget the impression you can make with a small, simple kindness. What you did was wonderful and I guarantee the elevator man will remember your kindness long after he forgets the asshole.
Ree said…
Thank YOU. For being you.
Mary said…
Thank you
Alice said…
So so nice. Small moments, you know?
RW said…
Your response was perfect.
I abhor rude behaviour.
It puts a pain in my heart.
islaygirl said…
beautiful post, BB, and beautiful reaction on your part.