I awoke one Saturday in the late morning. A few hours after the sun had risen; yet a few minutes before the hour when those who sleep are called lazy or depressed. But I was neither on this satisfying, summer day. In truth, I felt as bright as the sun and my heart was the warmth the sun brings. I was happy. And why shouldn’t I be? I had just graduated with a degree in creative writing. I was fresh into summer break (I call it break instead of vacation, because I don’t often spend it anywhere but home). I was two weeks away from turning the age where drinking is legal and not a secret mission. And, to top it all off, I recently cashed a check for my efforts as a television writer. All was well in my life; and, barring any unforeseen circumstance, that feeling wouldn’t change.
After much contemplation on how to spend my day. I decided it be best to spend a small portion of my money on, well—me. It was almost my birthday, after all. And I needed a more professional outfit to match my new and improved self. So, I left the comfort of my bed, grabbed the shirt and shorts lying on the floor from the night before (I only wore them briefly), put on my high-black socks, slid into my athletic sandals, and was on my way. Ah, I better do my hair quick. I thought to myself a few feet out the door. I went back inside, wet my left hand under the sink, and used the same hand to flip my hair to the side. There we go, I thought. And I was back on my way. I figured the mall, although it would be busy, was the best place to shop for expensive clothing. I’m above cheap stores at the moment. I thought. And besides—I deserve the finer things.
I arrived at the mall no more than ten minutes after leaving my apartment. And like a kid knowing he gets to pick out a toy, I fast-walked toward the double doors at the mall’s entrance. Just as I reached for the door handle, I noticed an older gentleman strolling a few feet behind me. Of course, I am a gentleman, myself; so I shuffled my body behind the door, and, with the patience of a school teacher, held the door open for him. “Why, thank you young man.” the older gentleman said.
“You’re very welcome!” I said back, and I began to move from behind the door to enter the mall, when a family of three beat me to it: a young mom and dad, with a child no more than five years.
“Thank you!” they all said in unison.
“No problem at all,” I said. Still feeling happy and willing to act with kindness. By the time the family had passed by, an athletic gentleman with a muscular build was steps from the door. Well, I can’t not keep the door open for him, I thought. And besides—he could crush me with two fingers if he wanted.
“Thanks, small-stuff.” the man said as he walked by.
“Oh, uhm…you’re welcome, I guess.” I didn’t want to start trouble; besides, this was a great day for me. Why ruin it trying to fight a guy who could flick me as if I were an ant? No reason at all, I thought, and continued on with my day.
The coast was clear—wait! What is this? Just a few feet away from the door, was a beautiful girl around the same age as I. She wasn’t far enough where it would be weird to keep the door open for her. So, I waited. Why, thank you handsome, is what I wished she said. But no. All I got was a quick, thank you—and she didn’t even look up from her phone. How rude! Well, anyway, my decision to hold the door open for her was a poor one, as it allowed a businessman the chance to reach the door before I could move. He was speaking on his phone, and didn’t give me so much as a head nod. I wondered if he even knew there were doors there. “You’re welcome!” I said, growing a bit irritated.
Again, I had instant regret holding the door open, as more-and-more people lined up to enter the door being held open by a kind, young man: there was a married couple in their mid-forties; a weightlifter who, in all seriousness, was curling a dumbell; a clown who looked like he came straight from the circus; and an entire marching band who stopped to get a bite to eat after their big competition (I know because it’s all they were talking about). Finally, I saw an end to this madness that began as a kind gesture toward an old man. There was just one, elderly lady—cane and all—inching her way to the door. Hurry up, I whispered out loud. “Well, isn’t this just lovely of you to open the door for me.” she said, as I was growing very impatient. “You know,” she continued, “you remind me of my youngest grands—”
“Uh-huh! Yep.”—I cut her off—”I really must go. Good talk.” I took a step around the door, and another step right into the body of a kid just younger than me, who was not in my sights a second before.
“Seriously dude!” he said. “Are you fuc—”
“Hey!” I yelled, as I looked right into his now nervous eyes. “Blow it out your ass!” And I went into the mall to buy my new clothes, feeling even better after all the kind acts I committed.