I was on my way to meet some friends at the Farmer’s Market on 3rd Street the other morning and started craving a donut.
I never eat donuts.
Who in this day and age does?
They are an anomaly, a true treat, the cupcake of yesteryear.
But I had a hard desire for one, possibly brought on by the simple knowledge that a donut place existed within the open stalls and umbrella’d tables of the market, and thus the craving took flight.
I texted my friend when I got there that I’d be stopping at the donut place before going in search of the table she and our group had already staked out and planted themselves at, asked if anyone wanted anything, there weren’t any takers, so I went on my way.
If you know anything about the Farmer’s Market on 3rd Street, you know that it is a destination for many elderly people. It’s been this way for as long as I can remember and it heartens me to know there will be a lively place for me and my kin to while away our days once we are a bit slower, have scored special parking placards, and want to indulge in some schwarma or a bear claw, while basking in the balmy and pleasant SoCal weather.
So, I take my place in line at Bob’s Coffee and Doughnuts and before I know it an elderly man, in one of those Dasher motorized scooters, has cut the line right in front of me. My immediate reaction is to feel annoyed and wonder why just because one gets old one thinks they can do whatever they want. I have theories on this. “Time is of the essence…” is most likely a constant refrain going through one’s head as time continues its march. In more elevated moments perhaps it’s more like, “No time like the present.” However, rude is rude and there’s no need to be pushy. There’s plenty of proverbial and actual donuts, slow your roll. Of course I don’t say this. I respect my elders. And my brain is too busy bouncing around two juxtaposing thoughts involving the yin of how adorably benign older people tend to look, and the yang that at one point in this man’s life he’d surely been as vitally flawed as me, as vital, and as flawed as me, and my attitude takes a turn towards the resigned. “Go ahead, get your donut,” I think. “Enjoy it. I can use the extra two minutes to make my Words With Friends move.” Which is sad in its own right, don’t think I don’t know it.
Anyway, Dasher orders, and then an open cashier waves me over and I start cross-examining her about the difference between Buttermilk and Old Fashioned (I was going to make this donut count, didn’t want to choose wrong.) In the midst of this scrutiny, the elderly man in the Dasher, idling at the adjacent counter, says to me in a booming, affable voice, “If you parked in the lot here, make sure to get your ticket validated. Otherwise it will cost you ten dollars.”
How sweet everything suddenly seems. He, looking out for his fellow man with his wisdom and experience of knowing that most of us, while cradled in the morphine glow of our donut choosing, would tend to forget to ask to be validated. Me, thankful that he had the stones to say something. Not only because it saved me some dough at the kiosk but because there’s practically nothing I like better than feeling like I connected with a fellow human. He flashes me a mega watt smile and I’m hit with the awareness of how from one moment to the next whole opinions can be changed, perspectives can shift, annoyance can turn to appreciation.
I wish I could tell you I bought him a donut. But I didn’t. I continued questioning the cashier at Bob’s about the various glazes and toppings, for a way longer time than any normal person would, and eventually moved off to find my friends.
The gent in the Dasher had moved on, too. Hopefully gathering other, more nutritious and life sustaining, foods at the market and most likely spreading more seeds of goodwill along the way.