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Random Slooooww Takes

January 20, 2017

Another Way for week of January 20, 2017

Random Slooooww Takes

My husband and I had just been having a discussion in which a lot of negative statements about random people (drivers, slow people in parking lots, etc.) were streaming out. As we got out of our car to enter a grocery store to pick up some take-out chicken we had ordered for a family reunion, I challenged both of us to think positive thoughts about ten things or people we found in the grocery store.

For instance, I see a smiling young man and think, wow, what a happy good looking fellow. He put me in a better mood. Score one. That kind of simple happy thought was what I was suggesting.

So next, I’m waiting at the deli for the chicken as my husband scouts other parts of the store. It’s one we don’t get to very often on the far side of town, and has a wonderful selection of gourmet and specialty products. At the deli they have tickets to mark your place in line, which is fine with me. No messing up who’s next in line that way, right? In my new happy mood, I’m fine with waiting. We have plenty of time before the reunion.

One customer enjoys his third “taste sample” before ordering a huge quantity of like three or four slices (dripping sarcasm here) of one specialty meat—a duet the deli worker and customer slowly play out. (Like this: customer names a meat, they discuss its merits, deli guy cuts a sample, customer chews it, decides to take it, deli guy then cuts another sample to test the desired thickness of the cut, which customer approves, deli guy cuts the three pieces ordered, puts them in a deli bag with price, then wraps the hunk of meat and puts it away. Repeat. Three times. And THEN customer moves on to the cheeses.)

Another clerk does the same with another male customer in front of me who acts out roughly the same choosey scenario only he at least orders a stack of his preferred meats, like maybe a half or full pound. A third male customer is next in line, and then me. At this rate we might get to the reunion some time this week.

I begin to look for a secret camera filming me being Ms. Patient Customer Annoyed By Overly-Picky Male Deli Customers. It reminded me also of Zootopia’s hilarious (but oh so frustrating) scene where a sloth takes his slooooww sweet time helping a hurried customer at the Division of Motor Vehicles.

When the exceedingly lengthy session with the first customer wraps up (and he leaves), I notice that the deli workers exchange some words and carefully disguised looks of their own. That particular deli worker then exits the scene, apparently because it is HIS lunch hour now. Ok.

My real life persona is yes, getting increasingly annoyed; the wife who pledged a Ms. Cheerful resolve, long gone. My husband returns to find me still waiting. I mutter my snarky description of what’s been going on in line.

Do things like this happen to you too? You determine to think good thoughts about people instead of being all judge-y and then this happens. Frustration. Delay. People surprising you with their ineptitude or unawareness of others.

Meanwhile, what are others thinking of me: the frowny woman with messy hair and slightly stained coat? Or horrors: do they watch my ineptitude when I sometimes try to give a clerk the exact change, fumbling to find the hiding dime?

Still, the exercise in turning one’s thought positive is a worthwhile one because without my resolve, I would have been even more impatient and frustrated. I would not have paused to think about these wonderful guys, perhaps on errands for their wives who were preparing beautiful New Year’s platters for some party at home. Or who so willingly took over grocery shopping for the family. I would not have been inwardly praising my husband for having the foresight to order the chicken ahead of time even though in the time we (still) waited, we likely could have caught, butchered and fried our tasty chicken.

We know that gratitude begets gratitude and happiness; researchers have proved what the writer of Proverbs opined centuries ago: “A cheerful heart doeth good like medicine.” Or like writer Thornton Wilder penned, “We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”

I challenge you—and myself—to train yourself to think thankful and positive thoughts as you awake in the morning, thanking God for being there, for your day, for your loved ones, your treasures. The good thoughts will help you get through waiting in lines, a traffic jam, the red light that has decided that it will never ever change as long as you are sitting there.


If you haven’t seen the Zootopia segment, here you go.

Does just watching this drive you up a wall? You’re with me!


What are your tips for thinking positive thoughts and cultivating gratitude? With your permission, I’d love to share them with others. Email me at or write to Another Way Media, Box 363, Singers Glen, Va. 22850.

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books, most recently Whatever Happened to Dinner. Another Way columns are posted at a week after newspaper publication. 





















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  1. I love this. I started doing something similar to this long ago–try to find and focus on something positive about every person. It definitely changed how I judge and interact with people. I believe that everyone (no matter how otherwise grumpy, irritating or even evil) has at least one admirable character trait. There’s usually pretty easy to see, but when they aren’t you can always make something up. I remember one particularly infuriating person. A friend told me she tried to imagine him as a child waking up on Christmas morning and finding no presents under the tree. That helped her soften her feelings toward him.

    There’s something to Will Rogers’ famous line: “I never met a man I didn’t like.” 🙂

    • Thank you Bill for your comment–and for adding the line from Will Rogers. Good one! And that’s an interesting thought exercise about imagining the child with no presents. Wah. I appreciate you bringing me back to my resolve, which must be renewed again and again and again. Have an awesome Tuesday!

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