Though a Costco is only 15 minutes down the road, I had never had any actionable interest, but that day I needed beach gear. So, a week after my son died, I went into the behemoth wholesaler to sign up for a membership.
A cheerful sales person took my information and remarked on how beautiful the day was, to which I replied, “yes, it is pretty, but today is difficult for me.” I didn’t want to get into the details but I also wanted to convey that I would not be mirroring his cheery demeanor. Unfortunately, he persisted, “but it’s such a beautiful day!” I felt judged- like, what does she have to be bummed out about. I was irritated that a man couldn’t just leave well enough alone. I was angry and sad so I blurted out, “yeah, well, my son died last week so it’s not a beautiful day to me.” The sales person’s smile curdled as he fumbled for condolences and an apology while I blinked back tears behind my face mask. And then he needed to take my photo. Go figure. “Can you take your mask off, just for the photo?”
Like a driver’s license or passport photo, my Costco card features a terrible picture of me, crying in front of a person I want to punch, whose only sins were to admire a beautiful day and insist everyone feel as good about it as he did. The first one isn’t really a sin, but the second is a cardinal one. To assume the world is perfect for everyone just because the day is pretty is naive. To assume the world is happy because you are is ignorant. But of course, the reverse is also true. I suppose the true sin was expecting everyone to feel the exact same way.