It’s Saturday afternoon and it’s nothing extraordinary. My aunt and I are strolling into Kroger to snag some last minute snacks for our small Super Bowl get-together the following evening. Chips, dips, wings, beer, wine – the usual. We step inside the automatic door and we’re figuring out our shopping game plan when we nearly run our cart right into a sample stand in front of the wine selection. No, it’s not a wine sample, it’s free 2oz cups of Jose Cuervo “Pour & Serve” flavored margaritas – one is grapefruit tangerine, the other is white peach.
“Hello!” says the woman behind the table, “Would you like to try-”
We each taste the two flavors – and no surprise here – we like both. My aunt is inquiring about the price and ingredients and I’m standing there smiling and listening and partaking in my bad habit of chewing on ice cubes. All of a sudden, the conversation is transforming from the margarita special to the woman’s job title, position, and background. She doesn’t work for Kroger, but for a beverage promoting company. Her name is Annie. She has a refrigerator full of half empty margaritas.
This isn’t at all surprising to me because my aunt loves to talk to people. She’s constantly networking, friend-working, socializing, and any other synonym you can think of. She has this fun, genuine charisma about her that everyone picks up on. It turns out Annie is a social one, too, which leaves me, the one with the on-the-border introvert/extravert personality, to comment and respond occasionally but purposely let the two talk. But I don’t mind listening.
We learn Annie loves her job, the hours, and her management team. She loves her boyfriend with whom she spends most of her time and shares the endless margaritas she drives home. She’s 25 and has beautiful wavy hair. She gives both of us her business card. My aunt is intrigued with her career, I’m intrigued by her marketing background. The three of us are still standing and talking as I shift the cart every once in a while so others can squeeze by. We tell Annie why we’re shopping and how we’re related, and I tell her about my current marketing position.
After another ten minutes or so, my aunt actually invites Annie and her boyfriend to stop by our Super Bowl party the next evening, and Annie’s flattered. We exchange numbers, she promises to bring three bottles of margaritas, and my aunt and I finally leave the sample station to continue with our shopping.
We leave Kroger and I’m smiling. On the drive home, all I can think of is a quote from one of my favorite movies, Boyhood. The film follows the life of character Mason from elementary school to 18 years old. Towards the end of the movie, Mason is graduating, starting college, and beginning to really see the struggles of life.
He asks his dad, “So what’s the point?” and his dad says “What’s the point? I mean, I sure as shit don’t know. Neither does anybody else, okay? We’re all just winging it, you know? The good news is you’re feeling stuff. And you’ve got to hold on to that.”
Walking into Kroger, meeting Annie, talking with her for 15-20 minutes – none of it was extraordinary. None of it planned. None of it extremely meaningful, except for the fact that all three of us left the situation just a bit more cheerful. We shared an unplanned conversation, listened to one another, and formed a new connection.
Meeting Annie wasn’t the point of us going to Kroger, and whether we see her again isn’t the point either. But there’s something to be said about living life one moment at a time and being aware of its affect on us and those around us. Maybe we should stop trying to find the point.