We had a pretty mild winter when the holidays rolled around. Then January came, and this weekend dropped the temperature. Every time you opened the front door, cold blasted in your face. Fortunately, we know how to bundle up for fifty-degree weather. My friends up North and in the west laughed when I said fifty degrees was cold. They said their lows were -5 so 51 degrees was balmy for them.
I went out to get some groceries in the evening on Saturday. The local Publix had added a Starbucks which was closed for the night and had moved the sub sandwich station. I wasn’t sure where the line started but no one was in line, so decided to get a sandwich since I hadn’t gotten one in ages, not since the previous winter. Then I noticed an older man in line and made sure I hadn’t cut by accident. He said that I hadn’t and that at his age that didn’t matter.
Then he asked if he could pay for my cheese. Apparently he doesn’t like cheese in his subs and would ask the employees assembling the sandwiches to give what would be in his sandwich to other customers. I wasn’t sure how that worked, but we had a conversation about how we weren’t used to this weather as Miami natives. Two cashiers commented on my sweater. We got into a spirited discussion about Tim Burton before I had to leave.
Little bits of kindness and connection get us through the cold. It’s easy to forget social interaction in the middle of isolation, and how we need each other. Kindness will get us through 2022, as the temperature rises again.