Tonight I'm reminded that a check of humanity can arrive at all times, in any form.
The last few hours have certainly not been pulled from a 20-something in Brooklyn’s Saturday night playbook.
I had just finished crying to a friend for an hour about one of the toughest situations of my whole year when I decided to go to Home Depot (in my pajamas!) in search of floating wall shelves to help reorganize my room. Gloomy and in the dumps from releasing so much pent-up tension, I was only further dispirited to find out that none of what was represented on the website was to be found at this store (naturally).
Somehow this inspired me to go all the way across town to Target, although it was already 10:00 pm.
I spent almost an hour wandering the aisles, peaking at different options for my redecoration, along with running into some old friends (I guess I'm not the only one out home shopping so late!).
But at this point, I'm pretty ready to GTFO and crawl to my bed.
Using the self check-out, I pointed to a nearby pile of unwanted items I'd made and turned to a Target employee hovering nearby, just to say "by the way, I'm not getting these items after all."
He started with the perfunctory "no problem" til a giant shag blanket I'd turned down caught his eye. He picked it up and began talking about how you could even make it a rug, and use it to have a wine party with your ladies over, or as a fabulous shawl or cape contraption. I was still rather silent; not quite contributing to the conversation at my usual rate, but he continued on to pick apart and mold the story behind just this one item for several minutes. I was dumbfounded by his capacity to engage me even when my energy in the moment was "so off" (for my standards). I thought for sure my energy was rather closed off or quite obviously depleted.
Yet just as I'm ready to pack up, he goes "Are you an artist?"
I thought it was because I had a kids' art kit in my basket, but he said no, it was because of my aura. My "colors."
"Some people have just one color, but artists usually have many or are a rainbow."
"What are my colors?" I asked. "You're like a yellow-orange...and purple right now," he replied after giving a thorough squinty-eyed look up, down, and all around.
"Wow! What does that mean?" I said fondly. "You've got some purple" he responded with a 'hoorh' sound and an I-will-take-up-space motion; "purple is kind of...dominating, but not necessarily domineering; it's more like a regal color. It’s the color of royalty. It’s a commanding color. You can tell you could get your way basically."
With a smirk finally creeping in, I said, "You mean I might find some wiggle room." "Exactly," he agreed.
"Why do artists have so many colors?" I questioned further.
"Because artists are in touch with their emotions. When you’re sad, you might make a little poem, when you're angry, you might make a rap...But then other times you've got that yellow color. You might come across like bubbles going 'boo bop boop' and people be like 'what is she thinking in that head?'"
As I lightened up, I told him our exchange made my day, explaining I was kind of grumpy earlier. He told me I made his just by saying that, as he tries hard to use his energy to bring positivity to as many people as possible.
It's now after 2:00 am; I failed the first attempt at screwing in these hanging wall shelves I went for and now am left with a massive hole, drywall all over the floor, and a busted anchor. But my heart is warmed as I consider the beauty of random moments of powerful interaction, the strength in random acts of kindness, and the reality that perfect strangers can become instant friends.
I'm reminded there is always a space for connection to lift the spirit, sometimes even more so in a slump, when you are open and raw. It's amazing how others respond and give so readily. I was basically wearing my pajamas with a rough and saddened face, yet he could still see through to my true colors.