They seemed pleasant enough as they ordered their lunch. I stood patiently behind them as they asked every imaginable question under the sun, or menu as it were. They finally somehow did manage to order and the bolder of the two elderly women added, “And two glasses for water.”
I didn’t know if it was because they knew water was good for them and made a conscious effort to try to be healthy, or it was because they were on a fixed income and couldn’t afford drinks. Now I know drinking water isn’t the end of the world, but I wrestled with the notion.
I’ve known many retired people who lived on a meager fixed income, some of them who busted their butts the majority of their lives. The ones I’ve known didn’t whine, complain, or belly ache about their lot in life, they lived within their means and did it with honor.
I can’t recall too many folks like that when they didn’t appreciate what they had and shared the wisdom from their lives with gusto, with pride. The characteristics that made simple people great and collectively made our nation the best on earth.
I staggered and mumbled through my order thinking about the retired women. My brain bounced like a pinball… “My mom’s not nearly as old as these women… She doesn’t drink enough water… but she could order any drink she wanted… What if these women can’t?”
I considered buying the women drinks as I stood at the counter feeling guilty about the big plastic drink cup they handed me for my choice of any drink I wanted. I wondered if those women had kids… Where were their kids? Could their kids order any drink they wanted at the lunch place?
Maybe the restaurant should give elders big glasses automatically? Instead of those small thin plastic ones that say, “I’m either a cheapskate or too poor to afford a regular drink!” I caught myself in my emotions, “It’s not the restaurant’s place to buy these women drinks. After all, they are supplying plastic cups and free water to anyone who asks, be it thin and small, it is free, we can’t ask for more than that.”
As slow as I was ordering and pausing afterward to contemplate these elderly women’s lives that I didn’t know from Adam, or Eve, I ended up smack behind them at the beverage dispenser… Man alive they were slow, talking to each other took the longest. I waited even more patiently at the beverage center than I had at the front counter.
They finally got the little plastic cups filled up with ice, the bolder lady waiting on her friend before they filled up their cups… with Pepsi… I nodded my head slightly to myself… I spotted them refilling their free cups with more as I was leaving.
It wasn’t that they drank the free soft drinks that bothered me deeply…or that they hornswaggled the restaurant…
It was the fact that they could lie so easily…