The Company of Animals

Today I stopped at 7-11 for petrol for the car and fuel for me. While the car was filling up, I went inside for a bag of Smartfood popcorn and some chocolate milk (my favorite "fast food" lunch). The man behind the counter was large, jovial, and wearing a hairnet over his bald head.

"3.51," he said, smiling broadly.

I handed him four ones, and as he took them, he reached into the penny dish (this one, like many in convenience stores, sponsored by Newport Cigarettes) and said, "Out of 4.01."

"Thank you," I said. "That's very kind."

"Thoughtful," he countered politely. "If I were kind, I'd reach into my own pocket."

, I thought. There's a difference.

The words we choose matter, but are they as powerful as our actions? Arnie can't actually talk, but I always know what he's thinking, what he needs. Meanwhile, some of the most loquacious people I know say nothing, just fill space with sounds and noises.

Brad and I just celebrated our wedding anniversary by climbing the South Ridge of Mount Superior, an exposed line that overlooks the spot where we got married 4 years ago.

The doing took considerable effort on my part, being a little out of shape and a lot more cautious that I used to be. I'm no fan of exposure, and even though the climbing is easy, it takes time to do it carefully, what with the many loose rocks disguising themselves as hand or foot holds.

I was a little gripped and grumpy when we started, foreseeing all the things that could go wrong. Ever the champion of the positive, Brad usually responds to my fatalistic mutterings by pointing out that I'm being illogical, that my concerns are unfounded. It's a natural response for him; he's a practical man. It's not always a helpful response for me, though, being a mostly impractical woman.

Brad struck supportive-husband gold that night, though. While shuffling across a skinny ledge, he found a clump of goat fur and promptly placed it on his head. As I edged across to his stance, I was freaked out and about to complain, but when I looked up and saw Goatman, all I could do was laugh and laugh and laugh.

"Baaaaa." He commented.

And in the company of animals, that's all that needs to be said.

1 comment:

ilikewinter said...

"If I were kind, I'd reach into my own pocket."

That really struck me. Thanks for giving me something to think about and practice more in my life. Glad I stumbled across your blog (from twitter!).