we should plague everyone with joy, especially at the post office

We are not going to change the whole world, but we can change ourselves and feel free as birds. We can be serene even in the midst of calamities and, by our serenity, make others more tranquil. Serenity is contagious. If we smile at someone, he or she will smile back. And a smile costs nothing. We should plague everyone with joy. If we are to die in a minute, why not die happily, laughing?
Swami Satchidananda, The Yoga Sutras

If you’re trying to avoid tranquility spend some time at the post office around closing time and pray you don’t bump into me.  I found myself zipping around this burb at rush hour yesterday with a pocketful of errands to run, foremost of which was a mad dash for the post office to make the 5 pM pick up time. I glided through the service station car wash and looked down at my phone: 4:53. Could I make it? Oh, why not try? When I pulled into the parking lot and saw several others milling in and out of the open doors and a young clerk with a collection bin making his rounds of the blue mailboxes outside, I was overcome with YAY! Bon Voyage, my beautiful card for my special friends! Your ship is sailing and you’re just in time! YAYYY!

But I still needed to purchase a stamp. I had already quickly judged that young clerk and knew it would only take a smile to get him to take my letter after closing hours, so I just needed to get that stamp. A woman stood fumbling before the meter machine, and I stood back observing her transaction. A few seconds later and her postage fell into the slot below. When she began to sort out her mail and stand there at the machine addressing and posting her items, I kindly and I do mean kindly in the way I was beaming with glee to have made it there kindly and to have that young clerk to take my letter and to know my friends would get this card in time for Easter kindly. Super kindly I asked her, are you all done?

SCREECH!

Just let me finish will you? she grumbled, as she stopped addressing her letters and returned to the computer screen to finish her transaction. Thank you, I smiled and stood back a little more. She poked around at the screen and let out another grumble. You don’t have to be so pushy, she said. And here is where I will stop and admit, I was breezing into that Post Office at closing time. I breeze into a lot of things with a joyful casualness that can be off putting. An alacrity that catches you off guard. But she humored me, and I couldn’t help smiling at her as I said, Well, you don’t have to be so grumpy!

Is it wrong to delight in humoring grumpy people? It might border on teasing, but sometimes I can’t help it. Despite what that quote above from Swami says, she was never going to smile back at me no matter what I said. But the man a counter over did, and as he and I shared a chuckle after she left, somehow the joy that passed between us mattered more.

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Comments

  1. and a Happy Easter to her, too! 🙂

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