16 September 2008

Nicholas

After a long day at work, one resplendent with hate, ignorance and stupidity, I was ready for someone else to serve my dinner. Of course, the restaurant I chose was packed and noisy. Most of the noise came from squealing children whose parents, equally as tired as I, were content to let them caterwaul at will.

During the course of the meal, I had glanced around, taking notice of the sociological experiment that is the restaurant. There was an Asian family there, the kids in elementary school, still enamored with Star Wars as evidenced by the light saber. Another family had a small child who didn't much care for his high chair, and was sharing his displeasure with everyone within earshot. There was an older couple, sitting with each other on the same side of the booth. I only noted in passing the three women and a little boy in a booth just behind and to my left. The little boy looked tired, resting on his mom's shoulder, and he had an abrasion above his left eye - it looked as if he'd fallen and bonked it pretty well.

Dinner went on, with the predictable botching of the order, constant aggravation of the noisy restaurant, the irritation at paying too much for food, the continual remembrance of the day's events; people acting mean, petty, and selfish. Grown men and women taking offence at the slightest thing, all adding up to what has too often become the norm: just wanting some quiet, away from the meanness and burdensome routine of the daily grind.

I paid my bill, and as I handed the check to the waiter, the 3 ladies with the little boy stood up.

I glanced, thought nothing, then heard, "what's your name?"

I blinked, taken aback, because the little boy on his mom's shoulder had raised his head, and looking at me, asked again, "what's your name?"

"My name's Jim. What's yours?"

"Nicholas." And he put out his hand to shake mine.

"It's very nice to meet you, Nicholas."

And that was it. Children are here to remind us that we're not as important as we like to think we are, and that more often than not, we need to stop and appreciate those around us, and take a moment to make new friends.

It's been a very good day.
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