I frequently pop into the grocery store between 10 pm and 1 in the morning, and I am enamored by the people who are there at that time. There's a good mixture of overnight stock boys and stoners with the munchies, and inevitably, there is at least one family with a kid or several in tow. It is these people, the working poor who have no option but to shop for groceries late at night that always garner a friendly nod or a sympathetic look from me.
A few nights ago, I was ready to shoot an empathetic look at the family in the ice cream aisle, but when I turned to look I realized that it was my sworn enemies, the old neighbors who called social services on me and then spent a year bullying my kids before they finally moved away.
I stood in the ice cream aisle pretending like I didn't notice them or their cart full of six bags of cheap sugary cereal, but I really would have liked to say hi to that eleven year-old in the dirty shirt with the ridiculous pink braid attached to his hair. I wasn't so keen to say anything to his nine year-old sister with the constantly smug look and the glasses that never stay up. I could tell in the particular way that he was ignoring me that the eleven year-old would have liked to say hi to me too.
I left with my ice cream and a rather heavy heart, and I was reminded that I don't hate often because it's not an emotion that I'm comfortable with.
As I rode toward home, I spied a medium sized frog on the sidewalk. I would have taken him home cupped in my hand, but the boys were sleeping so I didn't. I just dismounted my bike, and watched my little striped leg and spotted back friend until he hopped away to the safety of a bush in the landscaping of the bank.
And that's it. I hate to hate, but little frogs sure makes me feel better. I'll just say hi to that kid the next time I see him.