Yesterday I was in line at Sprouts with my broccoli and double dipped chocolate peanuts.

The food in front of me, on the conveyor, had no customer connected with it. What to do?

For a second the checker and I looked at each other, bemused, and then suddenly a woman with a child in a cart blew by me, crowding me in a bit and saying, “Those are mine; I have just a couple more items.” She proceeded to empty her cart of another twenty or so things.

It was odd. How did she get some items on the conveyor, and have so many still in her cart. Actually, I didn’t come up with an explanation until later. She must have partially unloaded her cart and then have gone back into the shopping area to get something she had forgotten. She didn’t just leave her cart there, because she needed to take the baby with her.

Her order took some time to process. There was some problem with the card or payment method or something.

The checker was visibly upset, and she apologized to me when it was finally my turn. She said, “People shouldn’t get in line until they have finished shopping.”

Normally, I would have been irritated too. Normally, I’m in a bit of a rush, pushing it, as I like to do, keeping the accelerator down. I like going fast.

But it wasn’t normally. I was on vacation, nothing to get to next that had a time stamp on it, and I found myself to be unphased by the wait.

“It’s not a problem,” I told the clerk. She thought it was. She apologized twice. I was gracious.

I like the feeling of being gracious. It’s a calm feeling, a lack of stress, a lack of judgment. I like not correcting people. I like myself when I am not correcting people who have done something odd or different than I would do, or wrong. I like understanding what is going on.

I like me — gracious.

It’s interesting. Gracious may be coming back in vogue. Maybe not.

Some thinking young people today seem to me to be more interested in understanding behavior than in judging, criticizing and condemning it. Young people in particular seemed to me to be sick of the judgmentalism of their parents, judgements concerning sexual behavior, political orientation, religion.

Some of this may simply be simply their lack of morality or formulated politics or faith. But really, some of this might be a more human desire for freedom, from the control of others, and for freedom, to be imperfect.

Life has its moments, when we have forgotten something we came to the store for, and in which we choose — in a flurry — to go back for. Life has its omissions. Life has its waits.

And in those cases, as in so many, graciousness is good.

I hope someone is gracious with me, the next time I make a mistake.

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